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Sunday, 5 January 2020

Traditional engraving techniques for rendering different fabrics as illustrated by Leopold Flemeng in 1892

A few traditional approaches for representing different fabrics as illustrated in the engraving, “The Elements of Line Engraving” and discussed in Philip Gilbert Hamerton’s (1892) “Drawing & Engraving: A Brief Exposition of Technical Principles & Practice” (London, Adam and Charles Black) pp.169–70.

Note: I have previously listed a print by Léopold Flameng, "L'Angélique, 1863, after Ingres; see

1. Rendering Velvet: “The first lines are heavily engraved … interlined with finer lines and then crossed with a second shading.” Importantly, “the first lines follow the folds, and so are explanatory of form … the second [finer lines] are added for local colour and texture.” As is always the case when crossing lines, the created lozenge shapes should not too elongated “as elongated lozenges produce a moiré effect”.

2. Rendering Satin: “The engraver begins with strong lines following the curves of the material, and then he engraves lighter lines between them.”

3. Rendering Cotton (soft cloth): After the first set of lines are drawn showing the contour form of the fabric, a second set of lines of the same thickness is angled across to create a pattern of lozenges. For shadows, a third set of angled lines may be introduced.

4. Rendering Starched Fabric: Two sets of lines of different strength are drawn crossing at right angles with the first set drawn with bolder lines.

5. Rendering Linen: A single set of evenly spaced lines are drawn at the same angle.