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How Lithographs Are Made

Lithography was the first chemical process ever used for creating prints that allow original artwork to be painstakingly reproduced.

The prefix “litho” refers to stone, specifically limestone in this case. To create a lithograph, an artist draws an image on a smooth limestone surface. Then the artist uses a type of waxy or greasy crayon to create a mirror image of the artwork. The artist may make a separate stone for each color that will go into the finished work.

Next, a chemical solution is added to the drawings on the limestone. This causes the crayon drawing to stand out. Ink is applied with a roller and then the image is applied to paper with a lithographic press.


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