Using the works of nearly one hundred master artists, this book reveals the vital importance of design theory in creating art. Watson stresses that while an artist's skill is crucial, a painting's true power lies in its theme and design. With particular emphasis on works by twentieth-century artists, this book analyzes the proper application of compositional principles in 135 paintings. Featuring informative text and easy-to-follow suggestions, this manual of design is intended for students of applied art as well as for students of art history. Magnificently illustrated with examples of paintings by Mondrian, Corot, Braque, Isenburger, Chardin, and many more, it demonstrates the fundamental aspects of balance and structure, among other elements. By analyzing the line, color, form, and pattern of each work—in effect, the foundation of its composition—readers will acquire an intimacy with the artist's style.