What is an engraving?
Engraving is a new technique in the fifteenth century that consists of a process in which an image is scratched (engraved) onto the wood or metal plate, inked, and printed onto paper. This technique allowed for mass production -- and thus a large and fairly inexpensive circulation -- of the artist's work.
How to engrave?
Firstly, one should choose the material.
For antic prints of 15th -16th centuries they used printing plates of wood. Then from 1600 cooper was used as a material, but it also had disadvantages, since the plates wore out qiuckly. Starting from 1850 steel engraving became popular. Plates of steel are harder and engravings have very fine lines.
Secondly, the image should be cut into the plate.
Special engraving tool called burin is used to carve the lines. It is a fine chisel with V-shaped section.
Thirdly, one should ink the printing plate. When ink fills in the lines, the plate is wiped clean.
Forthly, the plate is laid on the printing press with paper over it. Using the press the image is printed onto the paper.
Finally, you can color the engraving with water colors.
At present time the computer controlled laser engraving machines are used for engraving.