Open Source: Interview with Tamra Bonvillain


Vault's Open Source takes you behind the scenes of what goes into building a comic as told by the people who are producing the titles you love.

Tamra Bonvillain, who has a killer instinct for what works in a color palette, shares with us some thoughts on the weird, scary, and intriguing side of comics.

Tamra Bonvillain, Colorist
Tamra is a colorist who has worked for many of the major comic publishers including Marvel, DC, Image, etc. She studied art most of her life, graduated from Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in 2000, and later attended and graduated the Joe Kubert School in 2009. She's from and currently resides in Augusta, GA... or close enough.
Who or what influenced you to get into your craft?
I've read comics and liked drawing/coloring since I was very young. A lot of the cartoons based on comics from the early 90s while I was growing up probably helped get me into them even more.
If you could have lunch with any comic character, who would it be and why?
All I can think of are a bunch of weirdos that I like as characters that I'd never actually want to eat lunch with. I need someone chilled out. I don't want to get shot with laser beams while I'm trying to eat.
Transition from inks to colored art. Songs for the Dead. Tess Fowler, inks. Tamra Bonvillain, colors.
What's your process for generating new ideas?
Hard to say. For me, it's usually sparked either off someone else's suggestions, or stuff I stumble across, like a new Photoshop brush. The art can give me some ideas of new things to try if I feel like it calls for that. I will sometimes Google some stuff that is similar to what I want to do, or to get some ideas. Most of the time, I just kind of handle things intuitively, though.
What would be your dream job or role in the comics industry? 
I enjoy coloring! I would probably like to draw something at some point if I ever have the time and inclination to do so, but coloring is probably my favorite part of the process. As for specific projects, I'd love to work on Swamp Thing. More generally, I'd like to get a chance to do some horror stuff again.
Cover art for Heathen. Tess Fowler, inks. Tamra Bonvillain, colors.
Where do you see comics heading five years from now?
I hope that comics continues to grow and diversify both in representation on and off the page and in content. Things seem to be heading that way, so I'm hopeful for the future!
We're so psyched for the work you've already done with us at Vault; what other published works do you have in your portfolio?
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Doom Patrol, Wayward, Angel Catbird, Firebug, Rat Queens, etc