Stone Lithography

Addressing a crowd gathered for the 1929 Scammon Lectures at The Art Institute of Chicago, artist and printer Bolton Brown said of lithography, “here is an art of which we have but touched the hem of the garment…” While a good many years have passed, with innovations made, the message of this statement remains as true as ever.

For those students with little to no experience in lithography, this course will serve as an introduction to the seemingly magical process of lithography. Lithography is one of the four core printmaking disciplines. But, unlike any other, the printing matrix in lithography is completely flat, or planographic. Therefore, its success is based on the proper chemical conditioning of the printing surface to simultaneously repel water where the image is and hold water where the image is not. This way, through an artful exploitation of the mutual antipathy of grease and water, the lithographer is able to produce multiples.

This is largely a technique-based class, but the enterprising student should leave the course with a rudimentary understanding of stone lithography and the physical fruits of their labor in the form of proofs or a small edition taken from their own hand-drawn and hand-printed stone. Intermediate and advanced students will be encouraged to subordinate the hallmarks of traditional and non-traditional stone lithography to their own artistic ends under the guidance of the instructor.

Previous drawing experience is helpful, but not mandatory.

Special Notes

This is an in-person class which will take place onsite at Fleisher. Please review our COVID-19 community safety policies for current guidelines.

Tuition Assistance is Available

To make our classes and workshops accessible to everyone, Fleisher offers tuition assistance every term so that everyone can join our creative community. Tuition assistance applications can be completed once registration is open by clicking here. The deadline to apply for winter term assistance is Wednesday, November 23; Notifications will be sent by Wednesday, December 7.

What you will learn:

  • The physical preparation of a litho stone including leveling and graining

  • Traditional and non-traditional dry and wet drawing techniques for use in stone lithography

  • The basic, chemical principles behind stone lithography and stone processing for printing

Required supplies:

  • An assortment of Korn’s lithographic “pencil cores” (numbers 4, 3, 2, and 1 are
    recommended by the instructor)

  • 1 to 4 holder(s) for the Korn’s lithographic “pencil cores”

  • An assortment of Korn’s lithographic crayons (numbers 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, and 00 are
    recommended by the instructor)

  • Single edge razor blade(s) and etching needle (optional)

  • Pencil (HB or harder)

  • Notepad or sketchbook for notes

Students may also need the following to complete the term:

  • Newsprint (a 9 x 12 or 14 x 17 inch pad should suffice)

  • Acid free, cotton rag printing paper such as Rives BFK or Somerset Satin

  • Metal-free, bamboo brushes (used while etching and processing the stone)

  • Gloves, nitrile (either disposable or multi-session use)

  • Two printers’ cellulose sponges (used while processing and printing)

  • One roll of masking tape (used while printing)

  • One to two rolls of standard paper towels