A woodcut and wood engraving prints are made by carving an image into a block of wood.   The inked parts of the woodcut and wood engraving are the top surface of the wood rather than the recesses as seen in the intaglio print process.  The cut away areas on the block translate into the un-inked portion of the print. Woodcuts and wood engravings are not intaglio prints, they are relief prints.  The ink is rolled onto the top-most surface.

photo thanks to Living prints online: http://www.artsport.com/lp_mzprt.html
Here we see areas being cut away from a block using a small version of a slipstriker tool.  These cut away areas will be the blank space around the lines that will be printed.  The black lines you see are the drawing on the block which cover the area of the block that will be printed from.

Woodcuts
Woodcuts are made on the long-grained surface of wood, parallel to the grain of the wood.  Woodcuts are cut with knives or a graver.  Making blocks from the long grain side however had its drawbacks.  A large problem was that the wood would splinter, especially in areas with thin lines. That is why wood engraving was developed.

Wood Engravings
    The carving of a wood engraving is done on the end grain.  It is not actually an engraving, it is a relief print like woodcut printing.  In a tree, layers of wood are added to it's wood every year that create rings in the wood (growth rings).  These rings are what we have come to call the 'grain' of the wood.  The outside of each ring is denser than the area between.  Also, the hollow wood cells are arranged vertically in the tree.  In effect, it is harder to carve intricate designs along the grain because the block often splinters and it influences the direction of the cut.  Using the end grain reduces those problems significantly.  Using the end grain also provides a better inking surface.

Tools
    There are various tools used to carve the image, but they are all chisel like.  It is their different shapes and sizes that allow the artist to remove different amounts of material with each stroke and to make different types of incisions.  Some tools can carve out the thin spaces between close lines, others are better suited for removing large spaces, and some are better suited for straight or curved lines

    The tint tools are used to cut the narrow spaces between close parallel
              lines.
    The slipstriker is used for cutting away the areas around 'normal' straight or
              curved lines, and sometimes stippling .
    The lozenge gravers are used for cutting lines of various widths, the deeper
              the cut, the wider the incision.
    The scorper is used for straight lines and clearing out large areas of white. 

Chiarascuro prints are a form of wood block prints.


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