This site contains the information for studying Design and Composition as taught by Jim Saw at Palomar College before he retired. After reading how to use this site you can either start by finding where you want to go in contents or you can move from page to page by clicking the foreward and backward arrows at the top and bottom of each page.

The course contain design theory as well as the assignments used in Mr. Saw's Art 104: Design and Composition class.












This site should be useful to anyone who wants to know the fundamental concepts for designing two-dimensional artwork. The theory is straight forward and stripped to essentials. The assignments can be done by anyone to reinforce their understanding of the ideas covered in the text.

You can navigate to various areas of the site by using contents. The topics listed there are linked to their pages in the site.

You can go forward, or backward one page at a time with the red arrows at the top and bottom of each page.

If you use a link to an illustration, especially one off of the site, be sure to use the back arrow on your browser to return to the page on this site that you exited from.

Up arrows in the left columns will take you to the top of that page.

This site is a written version of my lectures with illustrations and examples where appropriate. The topics covered are the most fundamental and necessary ones for an understanding of two dimensional design concepts and how to go about using them.

The information is as complete a description of the topics as is practical in a semester long course. There is a great deal of material covered -- more in the text than it was possible to cover in all of the lecturers.

The vocabulary used contains many words that have special meaning in the context of this class. These terms are defined in the text.

This text does not attempt to cover everything known about design. It focuses on the specific concepts and skills that were taught in my class. Hopefully it will help you to learn the material and make your experience studying design more fun and productive. It should serve as a reference on these ideas throughout your investigation of design, and by extension, your pursuit of the muse of art.


It would be nice if a whole semester's worth of knowledge could be used on each project, but that is not possible.

Things must be taken one step at a time.


The projects are marked with this icon .

The projects are planned to illustrate the ideas presented in the text. Each topic builds on the information covered in the previous ones. The information is presented in a logical sequence chosen to develop the student's knowledge of design and technical skills. It starts with how to mix and control colors with paint and then explores how to design two-dimensional artwork. Along the way the elements and principles of design will be explored and many simple but expressive pieces of artwork will be made that will help you learn these ideas.

The projects for the class were made in and presented as a book. The student made the illustrations for the text provided. The projects are presented in a way that will allow students to make art that illustrates the rich variety of skills and knowledge that constitute basic design.

At the end of the course those that make a Design Book will have a personalized illustrated version of the text.. The concepts and skills learned along the way will form a basis for all of the art you make in the future. Even if you do not continue to pursue art making, the things learned will help you in your other academic and personal pursuits. It will help you understand art, create a more attractive and interesting environment for yourself and make you a better consumer.



Examples of student work are available for each project except the Value Scale (only one standard for this project). Click on Student example in the left margin below the project icon to link to that example. These are large files and may take some time to load. To return to the page you left, use your browser's back arrow or click on the appropriate return links.


Materials mounted on this web site are the either the property of the copyright holder as indicated on the page on which they appear, or copyrighted by James Saw. No reuse or redistribution may be made of these materials in any form without written permission of the copyright holder.

For more information about copyrights and liabilities go to: http://www.palomar.edu/copyright.htm.

Please email any comments about this site to: jim@jimsaw.com.


2007 James T. Saw
Do not copy or reuse these materials without permission.