Books by Mark Gonyea.
The holiday season can be stressful, even for a kid. But when one boy makes a wish for a little holiday help, he gets more than he bargained for. And what will Santa do without his elves?
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Publishers Weekly.

Mark Gonyea, Holt, $12.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8814-4

In this irreverent graphic novel–style picture book, a boy wishes that, like Santa, he had elves to subjugate, er, help him with his chores. He gets his wish, but discovers that elves can be troublesome. In festive reds and greens, Gonyea's high-contrast panels reduce the characters to their most elemental (Santa consists of a few circles, and the elves are wedges with feet and faces). The boy's Wimpy Kid–like mix of laziness and mischief make this a Christmas story for those at risk of getting coal in their stockings. Ages 2–5. (Oct.)

If You Have To Ask
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Order A BOOK ABOUT COLOR now on Amazon or Borders.
Order A BOOK ABOUT DESIGN now on Amazon or Borders.
Order ANOTHER BOOK ABOUT DESIGN now on Amazon or Borders.

A Clear and Simple Guide for Young Artists.

Color is such a huge issue that I really felt it deserved it's own exploration. Hopefully this book will get young artists thinking about choosing colors for specific reasons. What are Primary and secondary colors, how certain colors mean different things and how they all work together (or don't) in an illustration. Making for a solid color theory foundation to build on.

The School Library Journal:
"there is still something uniquely appealing about Gonyea’s treatment that makes this introduction to color a primary selection".
- Lisa Glasscock, Columbine Public Library, Littleton, CO

Booklist says:
"this attractive volume offers plenty to observe, ponder, and discuss. Classroom teachers and art specialists will find the book a good entry point for discussing basic ideas about colors."
- Carolyn Phelan

Also, enjoy some coloring pages based on pages from the actual book.
(just click on an image for the PDF).

Complicated Doesn't Make it Good.

The New York Times:

(oh yeah, I was in the NEW YORK TIMES!)

''A Book About Design: Complicated Doesn't Make It Good,'' by Mark Gonyea, is the only current title that effectively deconstructs complex principles of graphic design for children, many of whom are avidly interested in the subject. After the dedication to his favorite color (blue), Gonyea, a cartoonist and, natch, a graphic designer, begins to explain composition by using green and red circles: ''Change the size of one (in this case increase it) and you lessen the impact of the other.'' On the next page he adds the single word ''unless,'' then turns another page and continues, ''you do something to draw attention to it again.'' The red circle now has a hole in it. ''And so on. . . .'' The green circle gets a hole, too. ''And so on. . . .'' The red circle becomes a star. ''And so on. . . .'' The chapter concludes simply: ''It's all or nothing. You can't change one piece without affecting all the other pieces.''
People have studied at the finest academies in Switzerland and the Netherlands in order to come to the same conclusions. Gonyea finds a charming way to talk about abstract compositions. His spare prose skillfully changes tone, going back and forth between complicated design principles, often playing little games with the reader and thereby keeping the text from ever feeling pedantic. He is most convincing when he explains simple concepts, like how to emphasize an object within a grid.
It's debatable whether ''A Book About Design'' has the strength to draw a young savant away from an Xbox or an X-Men comic book. In the hands of a smart teacher, however, it could help the next Paul Rand find the right career. And it may be just the right book for parents trying to keep up.

The Cooperative Children’s
Book Center said:

Are you looking for a way to explain to kids why they don’t need to use every available font the next time they are creating a project on the computer? This is the book that’s up to the task. “Design is all about the perception of size, shape, and color,” writes Mark Gonyea at the start of this inviting and enlightening volume. His primer on design teaches about color, line, shape, ratio, balance, and contrast, blending bold lines and bright colors that illustrate each concept with concise explanations in a conversational tone that implies a friendly relationship with readers. A great book for teaching visual literacy, this volume will be of special interest to art teachers, as well as kids and teens who are aspiring artists and designers. (MS) ©2005 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Special Honors:

A Children's Book-of-the-Month Club Selection!

A Junior Library Guild Selection!

Complicated Doesn't Make it Bad.

The School Library Journal:

"This lively volume is just as successful as the author’s A Book about Design: Complicated Doesn’t Make It Good (Holt, 2005). Once again, Gonyea presents a deceptively simple introduction that effectively combines concise text and dramatic visuals to illuminate some of the basic principles of graphic design. Catchy chapter titles (“Don’t Stand So Close to Me”) and a vibrant palette of blues, reds, and yellows make the title appealing and entertaining. Artistic concepts such as foreground and background, positive and negative space, unity, and complexity are explained in terms that children can easily understand. The culminating chapter employs each principle, step by step, to show how an artist creates a finished picture–the eye-catching superhero featured on the cover. Youngsters will gain a deeper understanding of just what goes into a scene in a comic strip or graphic novel, and may be inspired to create their own graphic designs. A welcome addition." 

Booklist says:
Gonyea follows up his book A BOOK ABOUT DESIGN: COMPLICATED DOESN'T MAKE IT GOOD with another title that aims to make basic design concepts accessible to young people.  "Every design begins with a foundation to build on--The Big Picture" reads the opening text, which is illustrated with three vertical bars, each shaded in a primary color.  Throughout the book, Gonyea uses this visual foundation, demonstrating how ideas such as foreground and background, repetition and size of shapes, and positive and negative space can affect a final composition.  The definitions of terms are as minimal and clear as the visuals: "The foreground in a design is what's closest to you," for example.  With just a few sentences or words on each page, and many questions aimed at viewers ("Where would you place another dot?"), this is an interactive sequel that will leave kids eager to play with the concepts in their own pictures, while the final image--of a flying, muscled superhero--will have particular appeal to aspiring comics artists.