04 March 2013


Lithography is a method for printing using a lithographic limestone or a metal plate that is completely smooth. Lithography was invented by German author and actor Alois Senefelder in 1796. Is was a cheap method of publishing theatrical works, lithography can be used to print text or artwork onto paper or other suitable material. Originally an image was etched into a coating of wax or an oily substance applied to a plate of the lithographic stone as the medium to transfer ink to a blank paper sheet. In modern lithography, the image is made of a polymer coating applied to a flexible aluminum plate.

It is a really interesting way to print. It seems really long and difficult to make a print but
today most all mass-produced texts are made using lithography, like books, newspaper, maps, magazines and posters. Lithography is the cheapest way to produce large-scale commerical print runs. The plates are able to be reused over and over.

Lithography was use by  Alphonse Mucha, a Czech artist in who inspired the Art Nouveau movement.


  1. I've always wanted to try Lithography and have seen other students' work in the Art building. The amount of detail they add is very beautiful. It seems like process that takes great amount of patience and skill. LIke I said before, I've never tried it before but it would be great to try a class on it.

  2. Having done both aluminum plate and stone, I will agree completely with it being a long and time consuming process. It is a pretty incredible process, and to realize that it has been in use for so long, is equally incredible. Lith is a process for the patient.

  3. I've wanted to take some sort of printmaking class for a while now. Lithography is such an interesting process I want to try it myself. I feel like the exercise in patience is just rewarding in itself after seeing the final product.

    I wish I had more time to fit printmaking classes in and I feel like it something I have to make time for post-grad. My friend Caroline is finishing her MFA at ASU in printmaking and I'm constantly inspired the work she does under the moniker Slowest Press (slowestpress.com) .

  4. In 2D Design here at NAU we had to make prints using linoleum blocks and those really put one's patience to the test, I couldn't imagine carving out of aluminum. I was impressed with the final results though, it's incredible the kind of detail you can get and its replicable too. You should check out the work they do at Cape Dorset, it's Inuit printing using lithography as well I think.