First Lithogragh: Romancing the stone
Lithography: What is written on the stone can be undone and recreated (as many times as you wish)
Preparing the stone: Get ready for a back breaking zen experience
[an image set in stone can be erased by using different grades of Carborundum (80, 150 and 220) to grind out the image and level the stone, the said stone is then reopened to sensitivity with acetic acid which exposes the fresh unprocessed layer underneath for new mark making] 
Image Making: The part where being greasy is good

Grease is very good, as the chemical principle by which one forms the lithographic image is the antipathy of grease and water.

In this case here I am experimenting with Tusche.

Tusche is a  Lithography drawing tint, a combination of grease and pigment and soap (it is both soluble in water or solvent). You can mix the tusche in distilled water, spirit/petroleum solvent and Turpentine. Mixing can be done with either, although distilled water is recommended (warming the dish slightly makes the process easier).

Tusche mixed with water dries slowly and with patience can create beautiful washes, from effects like a still of waves breaching the beach as result, to an aged wrinkled cow leather texture in black and white photography.

Tusche mixed with turpentine is more viscous and penetrates deeper in the stone and more resistant to etching. The image produced hence is also much much darker than just drawing with a litho crayon. (A good cheat for an absolute black out tint, use litho ink with a bit of turpentine, the resulting image will come out as your soul ahahah).

Processing the Image part 1: Where's the powder room?

Set the finished image by softly patting Breu/resin over the imagery. The leftover Breu/resin  is brushed away and then replaced with talc. Both are acid resists used to protect the surface grease from attack by acid. Talc also dries the greasy character of the image, making it possible for the etch solution to flow easily over the drawing. 

After much patting dusting, Gum Arabic solution (which is also tasty to eat and lose some belly fat according to some studies, but let's leave this for another time) is passed over the stone. As, the solution may clot over the image quickly, you take some nappy cloth and swipe off the excess, leaving a very thin layer over the surface. Which you then dry with a very fancy sexy hand held fan called leiki, that is if you do not have access to the traditional wooden dry fan known as the abanador.

The plate is left to stew in its own fuming juice for at least 40 minutes. 
I forgot to add the Gum Arabic used here was mixed with a bit of tannic acid, so I did not eat this solution for a fit flat tummy. Hence there is no fit flat tummy.
Etching the Stone: The part where we all mess up and we don't even know it.

At this point you may scratch out some more details from previous image. The image is now ready for etching, by using a mixture of the Nitric and Phosphoric acids in different strengths mixed with gum arabic. 'The question of how strong is too strong and vice versa is best realized through experience', the experience of crying blood tears when al this effort goes waste and your image is unlike what you imagined.

The amount of acid mixture used to achieve the various tonal shades from weak through strong etches will differ with depending on the differing stone surface needs, intensity of the drawing need, and a pinch of salt that is your intuitive luck guiding you through the tones if it is your stone. I sadly lacked luck on my first stone. Resulting image, a dark madness of an image.

After your are satisfied you did tonal justice to your image. Run it through a second burn, and repeat process of the powder room, pat, dust and moisturise and leave it to fume on its own for a day or two (or basically 6 for me, as I have this class once a week).
Ready to Ink: This is how we ink it

Now wash off the gum arabic with water, put a very fine new layer on it again (I actually forget why). Put some thinner, add tar (yup that part surprised me too) after passing tar all over you just sponge it off with water and voila! it all comes off! 

Before you ink the stone, there is a small procedure to prepare your ink for printing, and check for the right consistency but koi nai, let's move to the part where you ink the stone.

You quickly wet the stone, and then ink it with a leather roller in vertical, horizontal and diagonal directions setting very fine layers of ink on top of each other.
PrintedLove's Labour's Lost

And here we come to the easy but the unpredicatble part. Easy parts; are for choosing the right papers, newsprint for tests, as the print actually settles after the 5th or 7th print (I rate this 5/7 haha). Canson watercolour sheet 300gm for decent prints, and Hahnemüehle for the uber excelente final product.

What you don't really see here is that this part takes immense team work, clean hands for handling sheets, a partner to help you register the sheet correctly on the stone. Partner wetting stone while you ink it. Someone photographing your very first process. EVERY single step pf the way, your professor doing everything so you do not die of a panic attack, or paralysing fear of cracking your stone under incorrect pressure setting on the press. Under printing due to missed registration marks on the press and the list goes on!  
Reworking the image: Romancing the stone

If the image stands to horrify you, fret not. Simply rework the stone. Scratch out details, reopen areas that need reworking and basically be glad you didn't break your first stone or your professor's heart at all =) 

After all its not carved in stone forever <3
Thank you everyone for having made it so far down, all the way till here =)
Special love and thanks to my most amazing professor Tina Velho, without whom none of this would have ever been possible!
First Lithogragh: Romancing the stone

First Lithogragh: Romancing the stone

Romancing the stone: Your first litho is a love's labour lost, back breaking excruciatingly patient technique, but leaving the printer with a con Read More


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