What were the methods used to copy detailed illustrations for distribution throughout the period between 1500 and 1900 (excluding photography)? I'm particularly interested in techniques common in Europe, for the precise reproduction of these drawings for wide distribution in books and the like.
As the scientific revolution progressed through Europe, and the age of exploration brought people to faraway lands full of wonder, a hand-drawn picture was often worth a thousand words to those who had never seen what was being described. For example, Leeuwenhoek drew detailed illustrations of microscopic organisms and sent them across the channel for the Royal Society, who could not produce microscopes of Leeuwenhoek's quality.
In my own quick perusal through Google, I've most commonly found references to woodblock printing and hand tracing. Were there other methods? Were they precise enough? Imagine being a 17th century botanist trying to identify a plant based on a book with an image that was incorrectly traced, with misshapen leaves and descriptive arrows rotated a few degrees to point to the wrong location.