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  • Learn More About Lithographs

    A lithograph is a type of art that is made using a stone or a metal plate with a smooth surface to print text or images onto paper or other suitable materials. Lithography is used to print and reproduce original works of art. Lithographs often have an air of exclusivity, as there are typically a limited number of copies made. Sometimes the lithograph is even made by the artist who created the original piece.

    Etsy shops sell several types of modern and vintage lithographs, each with their own unique characteristics. These are some of the most common.

    • Original stone lithographs are made using the oldest and most respected lithography technique, and this is what most people are referring to when talking about traditional lithograph art. They’re typically more expensive and more rare than other types of lithography.
    • Original plate lithographsI have are hand drawn onto aluminum plates by a skilled artist. This method can sometimes be more affordable than stone, and also easier to ship or transport, making them a very popular alternative to stone lithograph art.
    • Lithographic reproductions are printed copies of any type of art. The artist simply takes a photo of the original, and the information is then transferred to lithographic plates. The resulting prints are most commonly known as posters.
    • Mylar plate lithographs are created by an artist drawing on a mylar sheet, which is made from polyester or plastic. Once the drawing is done, the image is transferred to a metal plate and then printed.

    Modern lithograph techniques are performed by using flat stones or metal plates. An artist will make the lithograph by drawing an image onto these surfaces with specialized crayons or pencils made from materials like grease. The surface of the plate is then treated with chemicals. Once the image has been inked, paper is laid over the stone or metal, and the image is transferred to the sheet creating a perfect replica.

    With traditional lithography, the image that was going to be printed would first be drawn onto the stone plate with a type of grease like oil, fat, or wax. The stone was then treated with a weak acid or gum to make the parts that were not greased attract water. The stone would then be moistened, and an oil-based ink was applied, which would stick to the original drawing. The ink would then be transferred from the stone to a blank paper sheet, producing a printed page.