The difficulties of retaining color and shape in marine invertebrate specimens preserved in alcohol led the Blaschkas to turn to book illustrations as models for their early work. The illustrations in these books were lithographed, drawn on a smooth limestone surface and printed from the stone. This process was much faster than engraving an image on a metal plate and thus lowered the cost of producing an illustrated book. Lithography enabled publishers to print affordable illustrated books, which greatly increased their popularity.

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