845-887-3156 debra@debracortese.com
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Oleander Leaves Pattern ©2012 Debra Cortese Designs


People often ask where I get my ideas or how do I create the designs for my art and products. Ideas come from all over the place – things I read, conversations, dreams, observing animals, people, music, foods, etc. and at least 90% of my designs are inspired by some element of nature.

I try to walk every day during twilight (early morning or just before sunset) because the angle of natural light is more dramatic and magical during those times. Sometimes I don’t have the option of choosing a time of day, or my subject. This is usually when I’m creating a custom design. In this case, a client will request a design based on something that relates to their business, product or interests. When this happens, I need to do a lot of research to learn more about the client, the business or event that I’m designing for as well as their market or trends and, I always want to learn more about the stories or relevant information of my subject. While thislater part  isn’t always necessary, it is one of the parts of the creative process that I enjoy.

Today, I’m sharing just the basic steps to creating a custom pattern. I was creating a custom design for a product that incorporates the anti-aging properties of the oleander plant. I used images based on the client’s resources and after about 8 hours of creative time and multiple variations of designs and colors, the 2 patterns that are shown here are my favorites.

I started with a photo image for each design. On the Oleander Leaves pattern, I found a detail area within the photo, enhanced it, applied my custom set of filters and then some more tweaking of contrast and colors, mirrored the image and resized it into the pattern as shown on the background and on the sample Oleander Leaves Business/Travel Tote Bag.

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Oleander Golden Fractals ©2012 Debra Cortese Designs


For the Oleander Fractals design, I found a detail area of a sunlight kissed, field of oleander photo and enlarged, filtered and customized this into a very different mirrored pattern. I love the golden sparkle of this design and knowing that both patterns are created from pixels of the selected plant just makes my work that much more rewarding 🙂  This is an example of how my designs incorporate the energy of a specific nature element.

Both Business/Travel Bags are now available along with 10 additional designs:

See all of them now at:


To learn more about a custom design for your business, contact debra@debracortese.com or call me at 305-298-2023.