Musings in lithography: paper lithography

Lithography is in my eyes some kind of chemical, not to say alchemical printing technique. Based on the repulsion of oil and water (look at your vinaigrette 🙂 it is a planographic printmaking technique, opposed to relief and intaglio printmaking. Most common approaches use a stone, an aluminium or zinc metal plate. Modern techniques have as matrix some polymer plate (e.g. pronto plate).

Looking for a simple and low cost procedure to transfer an image to wood or metal plate for further processing I met the paper lithography (aka gum arabic transfer).

As I mentioned in my post “Inspired by Peter Freeth” I tried already once but lost the game because of a lot of crumbling of the wet paper.

Not giving up I gave paper lithography a further try. Modifying somehow my approach.

First I started with a photograph being part of my shadow series which I reproduced on a laser printer.

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The decisive step this time was that I fixed this printout with gum arabic on a dibond plate, (processing as one should in paper lithography,) but instead of removing it from the base to fix it onto the press bed I passed  it with the dibond plate under the press. This avoided handling the moist paper matrix which is quite delicate.

On paper the result was more than convincing. No crumbling this time!

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More on paper lithography may be found in following references:

or in these videos: