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Learning about Lithography

A presentation on the ins and outs of lithography and how to do it.
by

Sara Lalk

on 28 April 2010

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Transcript of Learning about Lithography

A lithograph is a planographic or surface printing process that depends on the chemical aversion of grease and water. This makes certain parts of the surface accept the ink and other parts reject the ink. Stone lithography was invented in 1798, and it was the first new printmaking technique to emerge in about 300 years. Stone lithography became very popular as a medium by the 1830s. People used stone lithography to create color art for books, as well as for more pedestrian things like labels, flyers and posters. Stone lithography's popularity with artists came about because it was the first printmaking medium to allow the artist to naturally "paint" or "draw" onto a flat stone to create an image. The artist creates the work directly and naturally. STEP 1 Draw an image in reverse on a limestone or a zinc or aluminum plate. Use lithography pencils or crayons. You will need to prepare a separate stone or plate for each color in the finished lithograph. STEP 2 Sprinkle rosin on the surface to protect the drawing. Then powder with talc. This helps the chemical etch lie more closely to the grease in the drawing. STEP 3 Apply the etch, which is a solution of gum Arabic and nitric acid, to the stone and leave it on for an hour or so. Remove the drawing with a solvent like turpentine. The printing inks, which are also greasy, will adhere to where the drawing was. STEP 4 Sponge the stone or plate with water. The stone's surface is kept wet so the ink doesn't stick to non-image areas STEP 5 Load damp paper in the lithography press. Run through the press. The ink remains on the roller when it meets water and transfers from the roller when it meets the grease. When you lift the paper, you get a reverse print. The first prints are trial proofs. STEP 6 Make pencil marks on each sheet of paper to be printed and line them up to correspond with marks on each stone or plate. The same piece of paper goes through the press for each different color, so these registration marks are really important in order to keep the colors aligned. STEP 7 Sign the final proof, called a "bon a tirer," meaning "good to pull," when you are satisfied. Now print the images. After the prints are complete, sign and number them. THINGS YOU'LL NEED Lithography pencil or crayon Lithographic ink Limestone or metal plates Turpentine Talc Rosin Sponge Gum arabic Lithographic roller Lithographic press Lithographic paper
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