The word lithography comes from the Greek terms lithos, stone, and grapho meaning to write.

The process relies on the fact that fats and water do not mix. The stone used in lithography is a piece of flat, polished limestone which one can draw or paint on using a fat, hydrophobic material, special pens, crayons or Indian ink. It is the fat content of the material used for drawing on the stone that determines the intensity of the image. After painting, the stone has to be etched so that the design is firmly embedded in the stone and will not alter during the printing process. The etching substance consists of gum arabic mixed with nitric acid. The acid dissolves the fat, causing the image to bond with the stone. The gum solution covers all the unpainted surfaces. Water keeps the stone wet during the printing process. The ink will now adhere to the painted image while the wet, unpainted areas will not accept the ink.

Limestone is the traditional material used for making lithographs but, for reasons of cost, lithographs often use zinc or aluminium plates. Metal plates are lighter and easier to handle in a larger format.

In the lithography workshop students work with limestone, zinc plates and offset plates. Offset plates are produced from film of the image that can take the form of a digital printout, a photograph, or an image drawn or painted directly onto film.

There are annual courses in stone lithography and offset techniques.

tick History


Papperskurs litografi 2010

News image

Papperskurs vid Kungl. Konsthögskolans litografiavdelning 2010. ...

Läs mer