Lithography

Written by Scott Martin
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Literally translated as "stone writing," from the Greek, lithography is a unique printing technique, still used today. The image is neither raised above the rest of the surface (such as wood engraving and lino-cutting), nor cut into the surface (such as etching). In fact, lithography even differs from printing forms like screenprinting--it is a unique way that chemicals are used in printing today.

Traditionally, lithography creates an image on a flat surface that is receptive to "greasy" materials, such as crayon or lithographic drawing ink. The stone surface then is prepared to receive this color. The image is then drawn or painted on the sensitive surface, and receives the color onto it.

Then, the stone is coated with an acidic solution, which prevents further adherence of color in undesired areas. Once the drawing is cleaned off and washed, the color remains in the desired places. Paper is then placed on the stone surface, which causes the ink to be transferred onto the paper.

Colored Lithography

Colored lithographs are some of the most popular printing jobs in lithography today. These are made by taking several impressions in succession onto the paper, each adding a different color at a time to selected parts. This creates a beautiful product, with precise coloring and depth.


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