In an engraving, the artist, by the placement and thickness of the line, determines either a dense and detailed image, or an image with a sketchy or feathery quality. After the image is cut into the plate (usually metal or wood), soft ink is applied with a roller across the entire plate, making certain that all the incised lines are filled with ink. Then the surface of the plate is carefully wiped clean, leaving behind only the ink held in the drawn lines or crevices.
The plate is then placed on the bed of the press; dampened paper is placed over the plate, and felt blankets or padding are laid on top of the paper. Under the pressure of the rollers from the press, the paper and padding draw the ink up from the incised lines onto the paper. Albrecht Durer is probably the best known engraver.