Lithography literally means “stone drawing". This type of print is typically made by drawing or painting onto the surface of a limestone using a greasy crayon or liquid wash and is best known for its flat painterly surface.

Because lithography is planographic, the resultant design lies on the surface of the paper, rather than pressed in or raised up from the page, as in other techniques.

Colors appear smooth and uniform in tone. In lithography, each color requires its own stone and several subsequent runs through the press.

Ocasionally, the litographic process may involve offset printing which is based on the principle that oil and water don’t mix. An image is drawn onto a metal plate using a greasy substance like oil-based ink or crayon. The plate is washed with a chemical solution that causes the image to attract oily printer’s ink and repel water, while the blank areas do the reverse. When ink is rolled over the surface, it only adheres to the image areas. The plate is run through a press, where the image is transferred or “offset” to a rubber blanket, and it’s the rubber blanket that prints the final image onto paper.

Weng Contemporary Lithography