Lithography Terms and Definitions

a can of asphaltum


Used as an inking base, asphaltum is buffed into the image areas of the litho stone surface before being rolled up with ink.

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a bottle of korns autographic ink

autographic ink (aka zincographic ink)

A fluid lithographic drawing ink, similar to tusche, but free-flowing enough to use in some types of pens.

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a hand held rubber brayer made by Takach


A one-hand inking roller used to apply a thin layer of ink to the stone or plate.

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a pile of carborundum grit for graining


A dark colored, powder or sand-like abrasive made of silicone carbide used for graining litho stones.

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folded cheese cloth


A loosely-woven cotton cloth used during the etching process to wipe up and buff in gum arabic.

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gallon of pure gum arabic

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 can of black lithographic ink made by graphic chemical


Printing material composed of pigment, binder, and vehicle.

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glass ink slab

ink slab

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.

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a metal levigator for graining litho stones


A heavy circular metal disc with an eccentric handle for graining lithographic stones.

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a leather lithographic fan

litho fan

Used to dry off the litho stone after graining, during drawing, etc.

a lithograph of 3 hands side by side by lauren alexander

lithograph (aka litho)

An original print created using the process of lithography.

a box of Charbonnel lithographic crayons with an individual crayon standing up in front

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.

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a yellow 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).

a red lithography press made by Takach

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.

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a large can of Hanco tint base for lithography


A material added to ink to alter its working consistency and properties.

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a folded pile of newsprint sheets


Cheap wood pulp paper used for litho proofing and temporary slipsheets - not archival and not suitable for fine prints.

a palette knife with black handle and wide blade

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.

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rubber litho roller made by Takach


A two-handled cylindrical device used to apply oil-based ink to the stone or plate surface for printing. Rollers have surfaces of leather or synthetic rubber.

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a small pile of powdered rosin


A light yellow or brown powder used during the etching process for stone lithography.

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an individual lithographic rubbing crayon

rubbing crayon

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.

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package of lithographic rubbing ink

rubbing ink

A lithographic drawing material producing soft, smoky effects when applied with a cloth-wrapped finger, or a dabber.

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three polyethlyene scraper bars side by side

scraper bar

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.

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a pile of white talcum powder

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.

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a can of stones paste tusche


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.

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