Stone Lithography​

Lithography: one of the few times in life where rejection is a positive thing. The technique of lithography is based on the principle that grease and water don’t mix. The artist creates an image using greasy materials. When the stone is ready for printing, the surface is dampened so it can be inked in greasy litho ink, then printed.

Process one

The image is drawn onto the stone using a range of materials with a high grease content. These come in the form of, for example, pencils, crayons and a liquid called tusche.

Stone Lithography taking place, with a person painting onto the stone with a grease-based paint
Stone Lithography taking place with a person painting an emulsion of nitric acid and gum arabic to harden this layer
Process two

The image is processed by brushing an ‘etch’ of gum arabic and nitric acid over the stone. The image is inked up and a second etch applied in the same manner.

Process three

Once the processing of the stone is completed, the image is ready to be inked up with a hand roller and printed. The surface of the stone is inked damp so that the greasy litho ink is repelled from the damp areas of the stone and only sticks to the greasy areas of the drawing.

A person working on Stone Lithography be rolling ink over the stone