Lithography is the most common method of mass production printing to date. Often referred to as offset lithography, the process utilized a metal plate or drum that has the image etched into it. The plate or drum is then prepared with an oily immersion in the “non-image” areas as the ink will not stick to the oily substance. Next the plate is inked, the ink sticking to the non-oiled areas, and then pressed to the paper, thus creating the image. The process is repeated many times with different colors to create the “full-color” image.
Limited Edition Lithographs
Limited edition lithographs are printed as described above in quantities under 1000. They are printed on heavy, high quality paper and retain their color for centuries. Limited edition prints are much more valuable than open editions and they are signed and number by the artist.
Open Edition Lithographs
Open edition means that there is no set number of copies that will be printed. Open editions are close relatives of posters, generally printed on thin paper stock. Kept under glass in a frame, they too will last indefinitely and will even appreciate in value.