Pressure + Ink: Introduction to Lithography

Pressure + Ink: Introduction to Lithography


We’re at the Robert Blackburn
Printmaking Workshop, started in 1945 by Robert Blackburn. Lithography was invented
for the purpose of reproducing sheet music. Instead of writing it once by hand over and over and over and over, Senefelder developed lithography for the purpose of writing that orchestral arrangement one time, so it could be reproduced,
so that it could be sold to multiple orchestras throughout cities throughout all over Europe. That’s was its original intention. When an artist gets
ahold of something that allows you to work in a new way, they will always take
those tools and materials and use them for their
own artistic purposes. That was the case for engraving. It was the case for relief
printing or woodcut. It’s also the case for
digital printmaking now. Lithography is based on
a very simple principle that grease and water resist one another and so what you’ll see
is a balance of the plate being dampened and then rolled over with a greasy based ink. It’s the same as when
you’re cleaning dishes. If you’ve got a really greasy pan and you fill it up with water, you start putting water in it, it starts to pull away from the grease. The exact same thing is happening here only it’s very finely
controlled placed grease. One of the things that
makes lithography so unique is that it actually is
the most autographic of like all the printmaking processes. It captures the exact mark of the hand that moves across that surface. As a result, it gains the most clarity from a drawer’s perspective
from a direct point of view. All the other printmaking processes translate that mark into other ways versus it just being an absolute record of the movement of the hand in that way. So for drawers, lithography is a very freeing type of drawing process
because it can be layered. You can draw in black
and print it in green or you can print it in blue or pink. That level of freedom is
only present in printmaking and that level of freedom with drawing, a direct drawing process, is
only available in lithography.

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