Litography in collaboration

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"Working Together to Achieve a common goal"


Definition of lithography in collaboration
by Tamarind Institute.


In the foreword of the book of Aloys Senefelder "Complete Course of Lithography, " we find that since its discovery in 1798, this magnificent technique has spread rapidly throughout Europe and elsewhere. Since its invention, the artists have come to explore and expand the possibilities this medium offers. Many have worked as artists and printers while others have not had the temperament or the ability to master and assimilate the technical challenges to combine their artistic skills with technical capabilities of a printer to assist in the production of the work .
Thus collaborative work increasingly takes more strength to the extent that goes beyond the conceptual horizons of the printmaking as well as to maintain, renew and brings the art of lithography to an even larger audience. Currently artists in general, not just graphics, they can use the medium of lithography successfully with the help of a printer that guides and encourages the use of the technique, which requires a different thought process, to address them in the use of other materials, and to offer a great chance to get a large number of copies of a single work.
Collaborative lithography allows you to produce in most cases a work of high quality, with better results than those that could get in a process carried out individually. This applies to both the artist and the printer. Formats, support, the amount of ink used in creating the image and the number of copies published among others, became surmountable challenges with excellent results thanks to collaborative work, where each of the participants work together to achieve a common goal to help shape the idea of the artist.


Work produced with artist José Antonio Suárez Londoño (2010) Lithography Workshop, University of Antioquia (Medellin-Colombia).
During the lithographic process each collaborative project should begin with an introduction, where the printer can have the opportunity to approach the artist and learn about their interests and aesthetic intentions in creating their work.
An objective look at some of the artist's previous work to the printer can help define the next steps, and even think about the materials that could be used to create the image, while maintaining the artist's style. For example, if a painter gives great importance to the effects created with paint, and stains, the printer can talk about the types of washes that can be applied with the artist, or  for an artist that draws and uses   line, the printer may think materials will allow the artist to create the most delicate line.
The initial introduction should define the parameters of the project and discuss the desired goals. If the printer or artist wants to limit the project due to financial considerations or time this is the right time to define the limits of work.
It is important before starting collaborative work, to develop or arrange a contract signed by the printer or workshop director and artist, with all the details and clearly described the anticipated costs. It is also important to consider a timely manner to help the artist to adapt to work this way in an environment different from his workshop.
In the initial introduction with José Antonio Suárez he was a clear and accurate, given his career as a drawer and printmaker, he is also the local artist with experience in collaborative work. He was initially invited to participate in a collaborative process where not only could he create art, but also experiment with lithographic materials that are available in the country.
It was agreed that a lithograph in small format, with one color of ink and an edition of 15 to 25 copies in four types of paper and agreed to further experimentation of materials.

This part of the process is crucial; here the idea of the artist begins to take shape in conjunction with expert knowledge of the printer. At this stage endless challenges are presented to both sides, the artist faces the exploration of new possibilities with a unique expressive medium of lithography. Also for the printer, each artist represents a new challenge create the image from a single position with different expressive needs.

(Picture 65) Artist: José Antonio Suárez Londoño
Lithograph number 3, one ink on stone
Medellín-Colombia (2010)
13 x 18 cm.
Printer: Yuli Andrea Cadavid Agude


(Picture 66) Artist: José Antonio Suárez.
Printer: Yuli Andrea Cadavid.

During the collaborative process it must be kept in mind that the intention of the artist and his ideas are the most important part of the project, hence the attitude of the printer must be positive, enthusiastic, in order to help produce the work. Likewise, the printer should not be allowed to interfere in the process of creating the image and it should not include personal judgments of the work of the artist and if he requests the printer’s aesthetic opinion, the printer must be careful to always respond within a technical context.

For example, it is common for an artist to ask about which preferred drawing materials and usually print these questions point to two things: that the artist really wants an opinion or two that only this rambling about which material to use in the image. In any case, the printer should always respond in technical terms that help the artist who is finally set to use material, it will not be a simple answer but a clear and positive advice for the development of the project, this can be achieved with responses as "a lighter material can cause such effects ..." or "a darker material generates gains or subtract contrast and light to the image ..." etc.
Do not forget that the artist often depends on the printer for technical advice, which means that it can think critically about the time and the proper use of the materials involved in building the image, although some artists accept more involvement than others. But the printer must allow the artist to be the leader at all times and thus adapt to their pace to flush out his style and creativity.
It is the responsibility of the printer to recognize and know the artist to the conditions which may cause difficulties in processing and printing of the image, or suggest a technical process or a drawing material that will perform better under the requirements of the idea, to ensure the result is the best. Thus what is sought is to offer alternatives to the artist make known the different possibilities offered by technology and not just give directions, because different materials have a wide range of effects and behaviors as matrixes of lithographic stones or aluminum.
 The choice of drawing materials and how to apply them can determine the success of the artist's ability to express their ideas lithographically. It is therefore important that the printer has a great grasp of the lithographic technique.
In this measure, as recommended when starting a project in collaboration lithography is to give a brief introduction to the artist on materials, equip it with a stone or plate tests, give a variety of materials and ask them to experiment with them, this exercise will facilitate the selection of materials to be used in the final collaborative project.

When José  Antonio Suárez initially underwent testing of materials local to Medellin-Colombia, his interest was focused on finding those would help build online, for it he used Tusche, Prisma color pencil pencils and hard lithographis penclis, he finally decided on the use of pen and Tusche pen, these materials enabled him to create a thin line that fitted perfectly to his idea. The experiment also allows you to set two stones of small size that would leave the relief of its form in the paper; drawing fragmented artist may change its position on the paper during printing.

(Picture 67) Experimentation materials.


Lithography in collaboration is a process where clarity, patience, tact, discretion, the ability to improvise and good sense of humor are essential tools and as important as the technical management and use of appropriate materials.
The pace and the design parameters should be controlled and managed in a clear and objective way by the printer in conjunction with the artist. Each project is new and every artist has his own style of working, hence the importance in creating a good working environment between the two.


(Picture 68) Proof. Lithograph No. 3.

Artist: José Antonio Suárez Londoño
                                                                                                                                            Lithograph No. 3
Medellin, Colombia (2010)
13 x 18 cm.
                                                                                                     Printer: Yuli Andrea Cadavid Agudelo


There are cases where the artist produce drawings more quickly, so the printer can process and print the image, it can happen that the artist fails to specify the image and draws very slowly. This is where the operating parameters are critical, because the printer must make every effort to adjust working hours according to the requirements and the pace of the artist.


Picture 69) Drawing with pen and pencil.

Also one must be cautious and honest to warn when the work should take a break. This usually occurs when there are problems and the work of creation and printing of the image is complicated, here we must stop and reflect on the processes and working conditions to find possible solutions. This should be done in order to improve and optimally meet the objectives of the project, which would not happen if the artist or the printer are angry or frustrated in during collaborative work.

During the collaborative process its also possible that the artist wants to make many changes and print a lot of more copies of an image, the printer must maintain an attitude of collaboration and must make the changes professionally. But you should also mark the boundaries of work, more so if you see that the project will deteriorate with many changes.

To this extent, it is the duty of the printer to determine when the color changes in the printing will be useful and productive and respectful manner may suggest the artist when making changes or not. It aims to offer alternatives to help the artist to find the means and the color that best expresses their ideas.

Once the process of proofing and color status are terminated, the printer should be sure to repeat the print quality that the artist adopted as BAT, if not achieve the same quality, the printer will be reprinted and regain the artist's approval before printing the edition.

In collaborative work with José Antonio Suárez, in the process of creating the drawing and in the chemical process and fixing the image in the matrix, there were no major difficulties, the artist chose the pen as fundamental material and made drawing in good time, then made a mild acidification to a regular sleep time in order to maintain the detail and subtlety of the image, there were two tests which show themselves state that the image was still very soft and in agreement with the artist decided to make corrections to add more picture and get more contrast, also withdrew some slight traces of oil around the image.

In addition to drawing the artist used more pen Tusche and added a little bar to achieve lithographic black spots.

(Picture 70) signature of BAT.

Subsequently serialized acidification process, the state took several tests by changing the location of the stones, (see image 68) the type of ink, color and paper. A trial was then set up the BAT is held in Arches paper that the artist had previously accepted for publication and should be marked by the artist as BAT, which, as has been said, means "ready to shoot. " This test is particularly important during the collaborative process, because the print is a model for the rest of the run and each test must be compared with it to check the quality of the picture and decide whether or not it included in the edition. At the end of the collaborative work, this test passes into the possession of the printer and has no commercial value.


(Picture 71) Process for stamping
Lithograph No. 3.


When you finish creating the image and get the state tests and BAT test, the next challenge for the printer is to maintain image fidelity approved by the artist during editing. To print an edition successfully achieve required great concentration and technical skill level.

(Imagen72) The process of printing the
Lithograph No. 1.

The printer must hear and determine with great calm and careful printing problems or any variation that might arise. If at any time changes that occur can not be resolved, they should be presented to the artist and approved by him before continuing with the process. Then gives way to print the edition, each copy must be checked and carefully documented, this will greatly facilitate the work of final record of the work.

For lithography number one Jose Antonio Suarez Two editions a black ink and the other in white ink, black ink were a total of 20 copies in three types of paper, a high weight, other low weight and finally rice paper. White ink is printed a short edition of 5 copies on rice paper.

( Picture 73) Process for stamping
Lithograph # 3 in white.


When the edition was completed, it became the curator of the works, each of the specimens including testing for teaching materials in this manual were presented to the teacher, he listed, signed and sealed each of the prints, to finally put Dry label printer and complete the paperwork of collaboration.


(Picture 74) Lithograph number 3.


( Picture 75) Signature and stamp, lithograph number 3.

(Imagen 76) Artist: José Antonio Suárez Londoño
Litography num. 1
Medellin-Colombia (2010)
19 x 25 cm. Rice paper
Printer: Yuli Andrea Cadavid Agudelo



TAMARIND INSTITUTE. “Collaborative Lithography”- the rol of the Master Printer. Albuquerque.

Traslate by Yuli Andrea Cadavid. 2007. Pág. 27.
Nontoxic group engraving in Colombia:
http://www.facebook.com/ # / group.php? gid = 320096757753


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