Ben Frey

Ben Frey was born in 1978, in Calgary, Alberta. Growing up in Nanaimo, British Columbia (on Vancouver Island), Ben enjoyed playing street and ice hockey, drawing comics, and riding his bike. His parents always encouraged him to draw by enrolling him in summer art classes and ensuring he had every opportunity to express himself in school arts programs. He began to draw in grade one, his favorite subjects being characters he created from Lego.

As a child, Ben’s favorite books were The Velveteen Rabbit and the Richard Scarry series. Today he is influenced by such illustrators as Jeremy Fish, Nate Williams, Andrew Pommier, Sam Gibbons, Sam Weber, Julie Morstad, and Robin Cameron. He finds inspiration in a combination of good craftsmanship, unique style, and great conceptualization. He adds that the “cut-paper” style was his inspiration for the illustrations in My Friend Jamal (2008), and My Friend Mei Jing (2009). Ben’s advice to illustrators is to always stay determined; let yourself be open to new ideas and styles.

His current pasttimes include performing in a folk-rock band called Adelaide, riding his bike, world travel, running, and yoga.

Annick Press books
illustrated by Ben Frey