Lithos is the Greek word for stone and grafien stands for “to write” or “to draw.” Much of which is called lithography today is not drawn on stone. Today new materials such as sheet-metal, plastic-sheeting or glass are used.
We followed the artist Maria Hillfon in the process of making a lithograph at Lindström´s printing-works in Solna (year 2000). The pictures below show how Maria Hillfon makes one of her lithographs of a horizon. The first three pictures below show the stages of printing to reach the final result. At a glance this looks easy but demands much preparation, precision and patience as well as a very good collaboration between the artist and the printer.
Before Maria Hillfon begins the lithograph process she has worked out a coloured sketch and the separate drawings on plastic sheets for each separate printing stage. Each colour demands an original, separate drawing on a plastic sheet.
The artist makes a pencil drawing/wash on a plastic sheet. Maria prefers plastic sheets because they are lightweight and easy to transport.
At the printing-works, Lasse Lindström is in the middle of printing the second stage. After the second stage one stage remains, the horizon line and moonbeam reflection.
Before each stage, the artist´s original must be transferred to a sheet of aluminium. This sheet has a light-sensitive and oily surface layer. The artist´s original is placed upon the aluminium sheet and is illuminated by UV-light.
The parts covered by the pencil-drawing will protect the aluminium sheet´s oily surface layer. The other parts will be removed by the UV-light.
When the aluminium sheet is covered in oily paint in the printing press, the green oily parts will absorb the paint that later on will be transferred to the lithographic paper. The other water-moistered parts of the aluminium sheet will repel the oily paint.
At all stages Maria has to give her final approval and may add to the plastic sheet original and/or alter the colour before printing can begin. The procedure of making a lithograph normally takes one to three weeks depending on how many stages are required.
When the edition is printed and approved by the artist, she will sign and number each print individually. Sometimes an EA-edition is made especially for the artist´s personal use. The EA-edition is numbered separately and should not exceed 10% of the original edition. Normally the printing-works stamp is embossed on the lithograph.
We also followed Maria Hillfon making her lithograph, “The Wheel“. Below you can follow the printing process that made “The Wheel“.