Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The Imprint
Jackson, F. Ernest Mason, J. H. Johnston, Edward
Persistente ID:
N the last article on lithography, the subject of the lithographic 
stone and its preparation was dealt with. Having prepared a surface 
to draw upon, the next thing to consider must be the materials used 
for drawing. These materials consist of lithographic crayons, 
rubbing chalk and ink. Lithographic chalk or crayon should be of a 
greasy, firm, black substance, that will work freely and smoothly 
under the hand without smearing, that will be capable of taking a fine, firm 
point when sharpened, and composed of ingredients of an acid-resisting 
nature. It is also very important to the artist that the chalk be as nearly as 
is possible of the tone value of the printing ink to be used in order to ensure 
the closest possible resemblance between the drawing on stone and the 
printed proof. Should there be in the manufacture of the crayons an excess 
of grease in proportion to colouring matter, the drawing on stone will 
appear grey in colour and there will be a tendency on the part of the 
draughtsman to overcharge his drawing, which will result in the production 
of a print considerably darker in tone than the drawing on stone. If on the 
contrary there be too much colouring matter in the crayons, the reverse 
effect will be produced, the drawing will appear black and strong on the 
stone, and the proof will print poorly and be grey in quality and many of 
the more delicate tones of the work will disappear. When drawing on 
stone the artist should never allow himself to lose sight of the fact that he 
is not only making a drawing but that he is also preparing a printing surface, 
and the iinal test of his labour will not lie in the beauty of the drawing he 
has executed on stone but in the excellence of the print which can be taken 
from the surface he has prepared.  
There are numberless formulae for making lithographic crayons, but 
all are made on a similar basis and only vary in detail. The following is 
quite a good one and it has the advantage of being simple and effective. 
Beeswax, 4 parts, tallow, 2 parts, Castille soap, 4 parts, white shellac, 2 
parts and light French black, I part. The first two ingredients are placed 
in an iron or brass pan of dimensions amply sullicient to hold all the 
ingredients ; the pan is placed on a gas ring and the wax and tallow melted 
slowly; then the soap which has been previously cut into thin strips is 
added a little at a time ; the mixture being continually stirred. When the 
soap is dissolved the shellac is added in the same way, the stirring to 
continue without interruption. The temperature is then raised until the 
contents of the pan give off a white vapour, the pan is removed from 


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