There's quite a nice article about building Java GUIs with Matisse
published recently on developer.com. It guides you through the basics including how to design the form, add events and code behind the GUI in details. The only bigger problem Matisse has according to Dick is that it doesn't bundle the GroupLayout jar. I don't know which version did Dick use, but NetBeans 5.0 final does that automatically. Update:
it got explained after few e-mails - Dick wanted to have everything packed in one jar instead of having GroupLayout in an extra directory, thus he chose to override the ant script to do it for him. Anyway for most cases the default behaviour works well enough - you just need to keep the relative path of lib subdirectory (the path can be changed in manifest.mf of the jar though).
I verified it on his project - downloaded the sources, removed the -post-jar target from build.xml and it worked just fine. Dick uses the default look and feel... I tried to run his small application with a different look and feel - you can compare them:
Change of a look and feel can do miracles to your Swing applications :)