Wednesday, February 4, 2009


One of my classes that I'm taking this semester is Lithography, a method for printing using a plate or stone with a completely smooth surface.

Today I went to the printing lab and worked on my etching. It's quite a process and I was pretty tired when I was finished. The above photo is the image that I drew on the stone, using a black lithography crayon. I was going for a 1900's McGuffey's Reader image.

After the image is drawn onto the stone, it has to be etched into the stone.

After the image was drawn, I rubbed rosin and then talc on the stone. Then I brushed on nitric acid diluted in gum Arabic. The purpose is to make the image grease-receptive and make
the stone water-receptive. The image is then buffed with cheesecloth

Lithotine, ( turpentine) is then applied to the stone to "wash out" the drawing, leaving a ghost of the image in the stone that the ink will adhere to.

Finally, the stone is ready to be inked. It is dampened with a wet sponge, the stone is rolled with ink, which sticks to the oil-based ghost image and is repelled by the water around the image. A sheet of paper is laid on the stone and then its run through the press under pressure.

My stone is ready to be run through the press.

This is the studio at Madonna

Here is the press I used.

In the above photo, I've started to lay out some of my supplies. My notebook has pages and pages of information.

After starting out on newsprint, I then printed out 8 fairly nice prints on nicer art paper.

I'm happy with the results and must clean the stone. It's a three step process of grinding with carborundum grit, two times with 100, two times with 180 and finally twice with 220. I used another stone to grind against my stone.

The image is starting to fade.

Fading still.

The image gets smaller as I grind away at the stone. In the end, there is no image left and the process is complete.

Here's a link to the Tamarind Institute where you can find out more about lithography.

Tamarind Institute

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