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How to… make a wood engraving, with Anne Desmet

Published 6 October 2016

In the first part of our new video series looking at artistic techniques, Anne Desmet RA demonstrates each step in creating a wood engraving, from tracing the original drawing through to printing a first proof.

  • There’s something magical about the centuries-old art of wood engraving, in which an artist uses the same tools used to engrave jewellery to create extraordinarily detailed prints. Wood engravings differ from woodcuts in that they are created using the endgrain of the wood – a cross-section of a tree trunk or branch – rather than a plank. This gives a harder surface and means that the marks cut into the surface are not affected by the pattern of the grain.

    Anne Desmet RA is one of only three wood engravers to be elected as Academicians in the Royal Academy’s nearly 250-year history. She is an experienced printmaking tutor and was editor of Printmaking Today from 1998-2013. In this video, she takes us through each step in creating a wood engraving, including tips on how to use traditional tools like the diamond graver and the spitsticker.

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    How to make a wood engraving

    Artist Anne Desmet RA demonstrates the centuries-old technique of wood engraving as she creates her limited-edition print ‘San Severino Marche’.