Lithograph vs Print: Difference and Comparison

We get confused about what is the difference between lithograph and print. Many people think they are the same and there is no difference between them.

Well, it’s an evident myth; they are not the same; lithograph is also called print, but it is done by oil and water, whereas the print generates artwork through printing, on paper.

Key Takeaways

  1. Lithography is a specific printing technique that uses a flat surface, such as a stone or metal plate, with an image drawn using oil or wax, which then transfers ink to a substrate, like paper or fabric.
  2. Print is a general term for any work of art produced through various printing techniques, including lithography, etching, screen printing, and more.
  3. Both lithographs and prints involve transferring ink from a surface to a substrate, but lithography is a specific technique, whereas print encompasses a wider range of methods.

Lithograph vs Print

Lithograph is the process of printing the artwork of an artist with oil and water, and the printing is done on a stone or metal plate. It uses oil, fat, ink, or wax to draw. Print is the process that involves producing documents, notes, and images by putting ink on paper through direct or indirect pressure.

Lithograph vs Print

In the nineteenth century, lithography was known as graphic art in which artists used oil and water to print their art. Lithographs are initially artist artwork in which they have their signature.

Many famous artists in the world still cannot differentiate which is lithography print and normal print.

Print is a technique of producing text and pictures through a machine copy of the document.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonLithographPrint
MeaningIt is a printmaking process done with stone and metal. Lithography is also called print.Print is a graphic art that is done by a printing machine.
MaterialsThe lithograph is done on a flat surface requiring ink, pens, etc.The print is done regularly through a machine.
RecognitionLithographs have the signature of the artist on them.Print documents will not have a signature on them.
ProcessThe lithograph is an original artwork made of stones and metal plates.Print is a graphic technique that can print many copies of documents and images on paper.
Rows and dotsLithograph print leaves rows and dots in their printing. If hands make it, then it will have ink dots in it.The print does not leave any ink dots, as the machine does.
TypesOriginal stone lithograph, original plate lithograph, lithographic reproduction, offset print, etc.Digital printing, screen printing
Time-consumingThis method takes some time to print text and images.It does not take time to print as it is done by machine.


What is Lithograph?

The word “lithograph” came from the ancient Greek word lithos, which means stone. It is a process of printing artists’ artwork through oil and water. The printing is done on a stone or flat metal plate with a smooth surface.

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A German actor and author invented this method as a low-cost printing artwork method in modern times; lithography can also be printed on paper or any other suitable material.

It can be used for printing text and images, and artwork for projects or various purposes.

Lithography technically uses oil, ink, fat, or wax to draw the art on the smooth surface or lithographic limestone plate.

A mixture of acid and gum Arabic is also present in the stone, and the grease-based image does not protect the etching portion of the stone.

When the stone starts moisturizing, the etching portion keeps oil, ink and water so that it can be applied and would be repulsed by the water so that it stays only to the original drawing;

after this, ink is transferred to a white sheet, producing a printed day. Some artists still use this traditional technique.

Today, lithography is done with flexible plastic or metal plates. The image drawn in plated can be printed directly by transferring the image onto a flexible sheet for publication.

There are many lithographs like Original stone lithograph, original plate lithograph, lithographic reproduction, offset print, etc. lithography is different from intaglio printing. Lithography can also be called printing, but it is done differently.


What is Print?

Print means producing notes, documents, images, etc., by putting various types of inks, plates, blocks, paper, or other materials by applying direct or indirect pressure by offsetting an image onto an intermediate roller.

Print can also be defined as producing a design or pattern on a plate or block.

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Printing is producing many text and pictures using a printing machine. The paper’s printing is known as Woodlock printing, done by China before 220 AD.

After that, development took place, and technology included the movable type of printing, discovered by Bi Sheng near 1040 AD, and Johannes Gutenberg discovered the printing press around the 15th century.

As printing technology increased, it played an essential role in the Renaissance and the scientific revolution. It provides the material basis for the knowledge of the economy and the learning of the masses.

Nowadays, printing is done in various types like Digital printing, screen printing, offset printing, hot metal typesetting, woodblock printing, etc.


Main Differences Between Lithograph and Print

  1. A lithograph can also be called a print. However, print can’t be called lithograph.
  2. The lithograph is the artist’s original artwork; conversely, it is a copy of the original artwork.
  3. Lithography can be done on stone, metal, and blank paper. On the other hand, handprints are mainly done on paper.
  4. Original lithography has the artist’s signature, whereas print contains no artist’s signs.
  5. Lithography requires oil, ink and colour for print art. On the other hand, print is done through automatic machines.
  6. Lithography is a traditional process, whereas print is an original process of printing text and pictures.
  7. Lithography leaves the mark of ink, whereas print does not leave any mark as done by machine.
Difference Between Lithograph and Print


Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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24 thoughts on “Lithograph vs Print: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The comparison between lithograph and print is elucidating. The distinction between the two is articulated very clearly in this article.

    • Absolutely. The clarity in defining and comparing lithography and prints makes this article an invaluable resource for art enthusiasts.

  2. The detailed explanation of the lithography process is both enlightening and captivating. It’s fascinating to learn about the intricacies of this art form.

  3. The historical context provided for lithography and printmaking is intriguing. Understanding the origins of these techniques adds depth to the article.

  4. The comparison table provided here makes it easy to understand the differences between lithographs and prints. It’s an excellent resource for anyone interested in art and printmaking techniques.

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  5. The article does well to emphasize the difference between lithograph and print. It’s a valuable piece for art enthusiasts seeking clarity on these techniques.

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  7. The historical and technical analysis of lithography and printmaking provided here is comprehensive and insightful. It’s a rich source of information.

  8. It’s quite surprising that many famous artists still struggle to differentiate lithographs from normal prints. This article serves as a valuable educational tool for artists and enthusiasts alike.

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    • Indeed. The article sheds light on this misunderstanding and provides a detailed analysis of lithography and printmaking techniques.

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  10. This article provides a clear and concise differentiation between lithographs and prints. It’s important to understand that lithograph is a specific technique within the broader category of print.


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