Colouring outside the lines: Edmonton kids colour in Kate Bush-inspired music video

Hundreds of Edmonton elementary school students crayoned in a colouring book to create an animated music video.

'It's quite intense with all the colours changing'

An illustrated version of Meg Myers flies through the air in one of the 2,130 pages in her colouring book music video directed by Jo Roy. (Jo Roy/Youtube)

For her cover of the Kate Bush hit Running up that Hill,  Los Angeles artist Meg Myers decided to make a music video that would bring the song into Crayola colour.

With the help of 2,130 children, the video's director created a moving colouring book.

Every frame in the 12-frame-per-second animation, features a page coloured by a different kid. 

The video has more than 400,000 views since it launched last month. 

"It's quite intense with all the colours changing," music video director Jo Roy told CBC Edmonton's Radio Active on Wednesday.

"But [it's meant to] feel like a very colourful experience, with the narrative of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly." 

The music video warns: "The following contains flashing colors that may cause discomfort for those with photosensitive epilepsy." 

The animation was created using illustrations based on film footage of Meg Myers dancing. There are other added flourishes as she morphs into a human-butterfly and flies through space. 

Roy, who grew up in St. Albert, recruited some of the students for the project from Edmonton-area elementary schools.

She pitched the colouring book idea to Myers knowing that her parents, who are school teachers in St. Albert, could help her connect with local students. 

Kids from École Champs Vallée School, École Marie Poburan, Vital Grandin Catholic School and St. Albert Daycare Society all participated.

Roy said there was so much interest that many of the pages had to end up on the cutting room floor — which was something she struggled with. 

"The post-process was so long. It took days and days," she said. "When a kid put a lot of effort into it, or when at other times it just felt the encouragement would be great, or other times it came down to just knowing how many colours were going to be happening at every second and trying to make it cohesive enough so it wasn't super jarring." 

In the end, Roy said it took a month to edit the video together. 

"The most tedious part of the whole process was scanning the pages because the wax residue rubs off — so that was complicated," she said. 

Six-year-old Parker Jones and her nine-year-old sister Mackenzie both coloured pages for the video along with their friends at Keenooshayo elementary school in St. Albert.

She said her favourite part of the project was seeing the final video that included the drawing of Earth she coloured. 

Though she said she generally likes painting better, she recently illustrated a book of unicorns.

Running up that Hill

Meg Myers said she wanted children in the video from the beginning since she felt the song had a message that could inspire a younger audience. 

The Bush song repeats the line, "And if I only could I'd make a deal with God and I'd get him to swap our places."

Bush has said it's about the destructive nature when two people in love can't relate to one another. 

Myers said she was recovering from a bad break-up while she was producing her album and the song particularly resonated with her. But as she began recording, she started to think of its meaning more universally. 

"I was interpreting it as more broad, not just a woman and a man's relationship, but in general about people switching places and having more compassion — not just in your relationship but for the world."

Myers said she also appreciated how the kids brought their own interpretation to the story by inserting secret messages on different pages. 

"One person put 'fly to your destination' and another put 'love,' I think I put one in there," she said. 

Roy said she was also inspired by the kids' creativity.

"It was so rewarding to go back to my own elementary school, and similar elementary schools, and connect with kids who were me a couple decades ago," Roy said. 

"It was the most fulfilling project I've ever worked on."