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The lithographic images created on Blue Berry Press are made from individual drawings for each of the colors used in the print. Primarily graphite pencil and airbrush are used by most artists, although ink washes and a number of other methods are equally effective on the drafting Mylar -- a translucent material with a textured surface -- from which the press plates are made.

Each drawing is contacted directly to a light-sensitive, continuous tone aluminum plate. Ultraviolet light is passed through the Mylar, transferring the drawn image to the plate.

After developing, the plate is next mounted on the press. Inks, which have been pre-mixed much the same as paints on a palette, are applied to the press, and when the image and color have created the desired effect, the edition is printed. The process is repeated with each subsequent color until the artist is satisfied with the completed image.

The term "offset" in printing parlance refers to the transfer of the image from an inked plate to a rubber blanket, and then to paper. (In direct lithography, by comparison, the image is transferred directly from the plate or stone to paper.) The advantage of the offset process exists in its ability to hold delicate tonal qualities not possible in direct lithography. The registration is also superior to that of direct presses, allowing multiple runs with a single plate. This is useful in modifying or adding density to color by printing it more than once, either over the entire image, or in specific areas.

As the separate drawings are brought together in the development print, the colors and their relationships constantly change, making the printing itself very much an exciting and creative part of the finished work.

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The Blue Berry Press in Cambria California is a 30" Harris single color offset press that has been adapted for use by artists in creating original Mylar lithographs. This medium takes its name for the drafting Mylar the drawings are done on by the artist. Drawing on the Mylar rather than directly on the plate greatly simplifies the process. Gone are the worries of plate deterioration during the run, and the problems of plate preparation traditionally plaguing original lithography.  

With Mylar lithography the artist prepares the drawings in their own studio and correction may be made at any time to either the plate or drawing throughout the proofing process. Combined with the rapid rate of printing by the Harris press makes this a most affordable medium for artists interested in creating original graphics.

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