Lithography Terms and Definitions
autographic ink (aka zincographic ink)
A fluid lithographic drawing ink, similar to tusche, but free-flowing enough to use in some types of pens.
A dark colored, powder or sand-like abrasive made of silicone carbide used for graining litho stones.
A loosely-woven cotton cloth used during the etching process to wipe up and buff in gum arabic.
Gum arabic is used with nitric acid to etch the image into the stone. It's also used to protect the sensitized litho stone from greasy drawing materials. When buffed onto the surface of the litho image, gum arabic preserves the image for future printing.
A hard, heavy resistant material (often thick glass, marble, or even granite) used to mix and roll out ink. Basically the equivalent of a painting palette for printmaking.
Used to dry off the litho stone after graining, during drawing, etc.
lithograph (aka litho)
An original print created using the process of lithography.
lithographic crayons (aka litho crayons)
Used along with other litho drawing materials, these dense, black, greasy crayons are especially designed for sketching directly on a lithographic stone.
lithographic stone (aka litho stone)
A piece of very fine grain oolitic limestone carved into a rectangular plate shape for use as a lithograph plate (matrix).
lithography press (aka litho press)
A litho-specific printing press (often hand-cranked) used for applying even and consistent to the paper and litho stone in order to transfer the inked drawing onto paper. Pressure is applied with the help of a scraper bar.
A material added to ink to alter its working consistency and properties.
Cheap wood pulp paper used for litho proofing and temporary slipsheets - not archival and not suitable for fine prints.
palette knife (aka ink knife)
Used to remove litho ink from its container and to draw out a thin line or bead of ink onto the ink slab to be rolled out using a brayer or roller.
A specially formulated greasy drawing material used for lithography. It is made to smear and smudge and can be used to create smokey tones and achieve subtle grey values.
A lithographic drawing material producing soft, smoky effects when applied with a cloth-wrapped finger, or a dabber.
The bar, either leather-covered hardwood or plastic, used in a lithographic press to apply pressure to the tympan covering the printing paper and stone or plate.
talc (aka talcum powder, French chalk)
A fine white or light gray powder used for dusting litho stones prior to the etching process in order to protect the image from the acidic etching solution.
A greasy, liquid substance for drawing in lithography. Available in either solid (for use with a solvent) or liquid form, it contains tallow, wax, shellac, soap and lampblack.