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How Stone Lithography Works


The day of the first proof is important for both the printer and the artist. All of the work of the past several days comes down to this moment. Here's what happens.

Toby washes down the stone.

Toby inks the stone.

The first proof is done on a sheet of newsprint.

Toby lays the tympan down over the paper to protect it from the press.

The press rolls the stone, applying 2,500 to 2,700 psi to the paper.

Photos courtesy Toby Michel
Tony pulls the first proof. It is very light. Five to 10 subsequent proofs will darken until the stone is ready for printing.

If the image has multiple colors, the artist creates multiple stones (one for each color). The printmaker repeats the printing process for all of the stones. See The Curwen Studio and for nice demonstrations of the techniques used in multi-color prints.