Kenton Wayne “Kent” Bonar was born in Johnson County, Missouri, on August 23, 1951. He grew up and attended public schools in Knob Noster, Missouri.
Bonar attended the University of Missouri as a wildlife studies major. He went to work for Arkansas State Parks in 1971 and served in various roles at several state parks, including Lost Valley, Lake Fort Smith, Queen Wilhelmina, Devil's Den, and the Ozark Folk Center. In 1977 Bonar served as a VISTA volunteer in Newton County.
Bonar obtained a copy of Atlas and Annotated List of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas by botanist Edwin Smith when it was published in 1978. Working from specimens housed at the University of Arkansas and plants in the wild, Bonar began to draw illustrations in his copy of Smith’s book. In 2014 he allowed the University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections department to scan the work in progress. Three years later the University of Arkansas Press published An Arkansas Florilegium, a reproduction of Smith’s and Bonar’s collective work.
Bonar has served on the board of the Newton County Wildlife Association as its naturalist. He has continued to be an activist for and illustrator of flora and fauna in the Ozarks.