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Indie Rock Colouring Book

By Jessica Lewis

Musicians communicate their work visually to the public through album covers, videos, posters and maybe a soundtrack or two. But sometimes there are other people that decide they can take it to the next level.

This is where Yellow Bird Project, a non-profit organization based out of Montreal, Quebec and London, England, and an illustrator named Andy J. Miller come into play. YBP has been teaming up with musicians from Canada and the States since fall 2006, letting each band design a T-shirt as well as deciding which charity the proceeds go to. Artists include Broken Social Scene, Bon Iver, the National, k-os and Rilo Kiley.

Last August, Casey Cohen, the London-half of YBP, came across Miller’s university zine-project Colour It (RED) when it was posted on It was a crafty homage to the bands Miller had been listening to: Sufjan Stevens, Feist and Animal Collective. One year later a 32-page Indie Rock Colouring Book was born out of their love of music. Miller illustrated each page inspired by a different YBP-cooperating band, and he did it all for free. “I think the entire package of music and person is where I find my inspiration,” he wrote from his home in Lon­don. “These bands inspire me in the details of who they are and the music they make… I’m compelled to react; I am moved to create something in tribute.”

The team has found a lot of support along the way; Chronicle Books jumped on the project right away and the bands are eager to give more to charity. However, Miller, Cohen and Matthew Stotland (the latter is the Montreal part of the equation) are probably the most excited of them all. “The main thing [about] the book is that it will bring a lot of awareness to the project,” said Stotland during a weekend trek from Montreal to Toronto. “We’re hoping as we sell the book, we’ll be able to sell more T-shirts.”

The independent music community might just see an influx of spending in the coming months as this book gains more popularity. Never has art and charity looked this good.

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