top of page

The Difference between Linocut and Lithography

As an artist, you want to be able to create prints that are high quality and that will stand the test of time. But with so many different printing techniques available, it can be hard to know which one is right for your project.


In this blog post, we'll be taking a closer look at two popular printing techniques: linocut and lithography. We'll discuss what each technique is, how they differ, and some of the benefits and drawbacks of each. By the end of this post, you should have a better understanding of which printing technique is right for your next project.




Linocut vs Lithography: What’s the Difference?


Both linocut and lithography are printing processes that use a raised surface to create an image. The main difference between the two is that linocut uses a raised surface that is carved away, while lithography uses a raised surface that is inked.

Linocut is a relief printing technique in which the image is carved into a block of linoleum or wood. The remaining raised surface is inked, and then paper is pressed against it to transfer the ink. This results in a mirror image of the carving being printed onto the paper.


Lithography works on the fact that water and grease repel each other. It is a planographic printing technique in which the image is drawn onto a flat surface (usually stone or metal) using a greasy material such as a special lithography wax crayon or tusche. The surface is then treated so that only the areas that have been drawn on will accept ink. The drawing is then inked and transferred onto paper to create the print.



A lithograph print.



Benefits and Drawbacks of Linocut Printing


Linocut printing has a number of benefits. Firstly, it is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can be done at home with minimal equipment.


Secondly, it allows for a great deal of control over the final image because the artist can carve whatever image they want into the block.


Thirdly, because each print is made by hand, each one is unique.



A linoprint of an owl.


There are also some drawbacks to linocut printing. Firstly, it can be time-consuming, especially if you are carving a complex image into the block.


Secondly, because each print is made by hand, it can be difficult to achieve consistent results from one print to the next.



Benefits and Drawbacks of Lithography Printing

Lithography has several benefits over other printmaking techniques. Firstly, because the image is drawn onto a flat surface using greasy materials such as wax crayon or tusche, there is no need to carve anything into blocks or screens. This means that lithography is much faster than other techniques such as relief printing or screen printing.


Secondly, lithography allows for greater detail and precision than other techniques because the artist can draw directly onto the surface using fine-tipped tools.


And finally, lithography produces clean, sharp prints with smooth lines and consistent results from one print to the next.


Although lithography has many benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider before choosing this technique for your project. Firstly, lithography requires specialized equipment and training, which means it must be done by professional printers. This often makes lithography more expensive than other techniques such as linocutting or screen printing.


Secondly, because each print must be made using a separate stone or metal plate, lithography can only be used to produce small editions of prints rather than large runs.


Finally, because of its reliance on toxic chemicals such as acids and solvents, lithography can be more harmful to both the environment and the artist's health than other printmaking techniques..


Both linocut and lithography are great printing processes for artists who want to create original prints. While there are some key differences between the two (linocut uses a carved block while lithography uses at flat surface, etc.), they both have their own unique benefits. Ultimately, it's up to the artist to decide which process better suits their needs and preferences!
28 views0 comments
bottom of page