Lithography produces both commercial items such as pamphlets, brochures and magazines, and fine art. The answers to the following list of frequently asked questions might help you understand what lithographers do:
What is lithography? Lithography is a printing process involving the application of a waxy etch of an image to a stone or metal surface, and then saturating that image with water and an oily ink. The printed image occurs because the waxy image accepts the ink, whereas the rest of the surface repels it. In typical lithography, the image that is produced is a mirror image of the image on the stone or metal plate. In industrial or commercial offset lithographic technologies, the etched image, which can be a photo, is rolled onto a negative plate, which is rolled onto the print medium in order to reproduce the original image. While technical innovations are used for commercial lithography, classic stone lithography is still used as an artist's medium.
What do lithographers do? Lithographers are artists and print making specialists who use the lithography medium to produce posters and other media. Lithographers require a great many specialty products depending upon what the lithographer wants to produce. If the lithographer works exclusively with his or her own drawings and designs, then that lithographer might require limestone, carver grit, lithographic pencils, chalk, gum arabic and rosin. A lithographer will also need his or her own lithographic press, which can apply hundreds of pounds of pressure.
What industries use lithography? Publishers of books, mass produced posters and magazines all use lithographic offset printing, and it is, in fact, the most commonly used printing process due to the fact that bulk reproductions can be made quickly and cheaply.
Lithographers will offer various printing services to their customers depending on the equipment they have and what their employees are trained to do. If you're looking for a specific type, you can call the company and see if it is something they offer. Nano imprint, silicon, pattern enhancement systems, x ray micro, chemical, electron beam, and soft lithograph choices can all give you high class products. The resolution of the digital photo can be sharpened due to optical techniques professionals can use. Each company will have different processes and use a different press to achieve the look you have ordered. Landscape and abstract art can be done by using lithograph printers. Stones and plates can be drawn on by using a lithograph pencils to give you a unique look. Different types of inks can be used in order to have the image put on a stone or plate. You can find a company that does this type of work by looking online or in a phone book. You may find a website that will tell you what processes they can do and how long to expect it to take them before you're given the final product. You can always call their customer service department and ask for different prices on the various processes they offer. They may want to know what type of print you prefer or if you have a photo you want to use. You can ask if they do digital imaging and what type of press they use. They may offer the product to be framed for an additional cost to help save you the time of having one fitted later.