“Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’dtoil-hc

Thrice and once the hedge-pig whin’d

Harpier cries: ‘Tis time, ’tis time.”

~William Shakespeares’s Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I

‘Tis Time! The Toil and Trouble Hardcover is now available at comic shops! Yep, you can visit your local comic shop and pick up this beautiful Archaia hardcover boiling over with special features for $29.99.

Find your local comic shop here.

And if you are in the Los Angeles area, you can meet me in person at A Shop Called Quest tonight for a special book signing event from 6pm to 8pm. Details here.

But wait, there’s more!

When you get your copy, take a wicked selfie with it and Tweet, Tumbl or Facebook it to me, Mairghread Scott, using the hashtag #ToilandTrouble by midnight on Halloween to be entered to win one special care package that will include a signed and annotated copy of Toil and Trouble filled with notes from me about the creation of the series and the research that went into making this book, as well as a few other super-cool and very secret Toil and Trouble items. I’ll only be creating one of these annotated copies so this is a truly unique prize.

Finally, Kelly, Nichole and I have been talking up a storm about the book so you can check out these great interviews below.

Double Double: An Interview with Toil and Trouble’s Mairghread Scott and Kelly & Nichole Matthews at Women Write About Comics

Laramie Martinez Interviews The Creative Team Behind BOOM!’s Toil and Trouble.

Comicosity Interview: Scott And The Matthews Sisters Talk Toil and Trouble

Mairghread Scott Talks Toil and Trouble on The Comic Book Exchange

Toil and Trouble: An Interview with Creators Mairghread Scott and Kelly & Nichole Matthews at Rogues Portal

Thank you to everyone who has supported this book. I am so happy to share it all with you.

~Mairghread

San Diego Comic Con is less than a week away! Are you ready? I’m pumped! If you want to meet me and get something signed below is my full SDCC Schedule:

 

Thursday July 21st

1pm to 2pm – From Concepts to Comics: A Conversation about Editing in the Comics Industry
Room 28DE

2pm to 3pm – IDW & Hasbro – The Revolution is Now
Room 9

4pm to 5pm – Revolution signing at the IDW Booth #2743

6pm to 7pm – Bringing Prime Time to Comic Shops – All About Comics from Television
Room 29AB

Friday July 22nd

6pm to 7pm – Transformers signing at the IDW Booth #2743

Saturday July 23rd

1pm to 2pm – Teaching STEM with Comics
Shiley Special Events, San Diego Public Library

I hope to see you at the show!

Hello!IMG_20160406_143039274_2

This weekend I will be exhibiting at Emerald City Comic Con!

You can find me at table H-17 in Artist’s Alley, right next to Kelly and Nichole Matthews. I will have Toil and Trouble issues 1 – 6, Transformers Windblade Vol. 1 and Transformers: Combiner Wars for sale. Signatures on books you bring are of course free. Come say Hi!

In addition, you can find me at the following signings and panels:

Thursday April 7th
3pm to 4pm – Power Rangers Signing at the Boom Studios Booth #1002
6pm to 7pm – Transformers Windblade signing with Corin Howell at the IDW Booth #1804

Saturday April 9th

11am to Noon – Beyond the Femme Fatale: Re-Imagining the Female Villain panel in Room T305
2pm to 3pm – Transformers Windblade Signing at the IDW Booth #1804
3:30pm to 4:30pm – Power Rangers Signing at the Boom Studios Booth #1002

I hope to see you there!

Mairghread Scott

Behold! The wonder of WonderCon is nearly upon us, and it’s in LA this year! If you’re in Los Angeles this weekend, here is where you can find me.

Friday March 25th at 12:30pm – Lantern City Panel, Room 502A

Talking steampunk dystopias with my Lantern City peeps. Come see us for all your brutal totalitarian needs!

 
Friday March 25th at 5pm – From Concept to Comics – The Editorial Process Panel, Room 515A

The first thing I often hear from new writers is how they don’t need an editor. Learn why that’s also the stupidest thing I hear at this great panel.

 

Saturday – Working today and won’t be at the convention. Sad face.

 
Sunday March 27th at Noon – Power Rangers signing at the Boom Studios, Booth 1611

Will be signing for about an hour at the Boom! booth. Come by and chat Power Rangers with me.

(Psst! If you have other comics of mine, I’m happy to sign those, too.)

 
Sunday March 27th at 1pm – Getting Into Comics and Staying There Panel, Room 515A

Your second job is often the hardest to get. Learn how to get that (as well as the 3rd and 4th job) on this great panel!

Outside of these, you can find me wandering the convention floor. Feel free to chat (as it stops me from spending money I don’t have) anytime!

 

Mairghread

March is going to be a really fun month for me. 4 episodes of 4 different TV shows that I wrote will be airing in the next few weeks.

On March 12th, Transformers: Robots in Disguise episode 204 “Suspended” will be airing on Cartoon Network.

On March 20th, Ultimate Spider-Man Vs. The Sinister Six episode “Double Agent Venom” will be airing on Disney XD.

On March 27th, Avengers Assemble: Ultron Revolution episode “Saving Captain Rogers” will be airing on Disney XD.

Also on March 27th, Guardians of The Galaxy episode “We Are the World Tree” will be airing on Disney XD.

Tune in as I write your favorite superheroes, some robots who turn into cars, and a bunch of a-holes.

~Mairghread

 

ToilAndTrouble_006_A_MainDear Readers,

This is easily the saddest and happiest post I’ve written so far. Today is the release of the last issue of my first creator-owned series, Toil and Trouble, and I am so proud I could burst. Toil and Trouble has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, from the level of detail it required at every step to the infamous ‘curse’ that seemed to shadow us. Bringing Smertae, Riata, Cait and Macbeth to life was one of the singularly greatest accomplishments of my career and I couldn’t have done this without so many wonderful people. I’d like to thank them now.

To Kelly and Nichole Matthews, thank you for rendering Smertae and her ilk with such precision and care. I will always be in your debt.

To Kyla Vanderklugt, your covers are amazing. They inspire me every time I see them.

To Warren Montgomery, thank you for your fabulous lettering which absolutely went the extra mile.

To Jillian Crab, all the wonderful details of your design work helped this book jump off the shelves.

To Whitney Leopard and Sierra Hahn, thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping us all on track, despite the odds.

To Rebecca Taylor, Toil and Trouble’s first champion. This truly wouldn’t have been possible without you.

To Sarah Stone and Eliza Frye, for all your help in bringing Toil and Trouble into focus.

To Bill, who wrote such a great jumping-off point. I hope we did you proud.

To my mother and proofreader, Barbara, I love you deeply.

To my father, who taught me to love Shakespeare as much as breathing.

To Jason, my husband, who kept me safe and sane even when I was wandering through the halls of the Overlook hotel, looking for inspiration.

To M and L, always.

And finally, thank you to the readers and retailers. The fact that you took a chance on our strange little tale amazes me, the fact that you liked it inspires me and the fact that you’re here now leaves me in awe. I cannot thank you enough.

All six issues of Toil and Trouble are now available at your local comic book store, digitally, or through the Boom Studios website. We will be collecting them all into a single book which will be out in the Fall of 2016. Stay tuned for updates on the collection and for news about my upcoming projects.

Blessed Be,
Mairghread ScottWitches

Recently, I have been getting a lot of great questions and feedback about how to write comic scripts. Questions about how much description to put into panels, how much acting to describe, how much action do I choreograph in the script, what do I leave up to the artist. Since issue 1 of Toil and Trouble has been out for a few months now, I thought I would post the full script for that issue so everyone can see just what I write in my scripts and compare it to the artists’ final interpretation. TnT page 1

Now you may notice some small changes, a page I describe as 5 panels might get cut to 4 or expanded to 6 panels. A line of narration or dialogue might have been cut if we thought  the art conveyed what we needed so the line became unnecessary. Rather than editing the script to match the final comic, I’ve presented the original script here as the artists received it so that you can see what they worked with to create the issue.

<One small note: I normally space my captions and dialogue over two tab spaces, I can’t remember why I didn’t do that here, but I do it on my other scripts and suggest you do too, because it will give you a better sense of how the dialogue will look in an actual bubble.>

Script page 1

One final note, there is a really cool writing exercise you can do here. Take issue 2 of Toil and Trouble or another comic you really love and using this script as a template see if you can reverse engineer the comic into the script. What do you need to write in the panel descriptions to get the artist to draw what you have seen in the final book? How would you describe those panels, scenes, and that action. This is a technique I first heard about from Matt Fraction years ago, and is a really helpful exercise.

Now without any further ado, I present the script, Toil_And_Trouble-Issue1-FINAL

I hope this spurs discussions and questions, feel free to reach out to me via Twitter or Tumblr with any followup questions.

Hi Everyone!

Just jumping online to let you know I’ll be attending Long Beach Comic Con this weekend and speaking on a few panels. Come on down for a great (and very air-conditioned) convention! If you want to see me too, here’s where I’ll be:

logo_lbcc_large

Saturday 9/12
ROOM 103B/C
10:30am – 11:30am
WOMEN IN ANIMATION Craig Miller heads the Professional Development Program for Women in
Animation and has been active in the organization for many years. Craig moderates this discussion with
four dynamic women; Mairghread Scott, Charlotte Fullerton, Shea Fontana, and Jules Rivera, who come
from different aspects of the industry to talk about their experiences and discuss the challenges and
breakthroughs they’ve had in Animation.

ROOM 103B/C
3:30pm – 4:30pm
YOUNG GUNS OF ANIMATION The next generation of comics and animation writers answer your questions on what it takes to build a career when you’re just starting out. People at the top may not know what it takes to succeed today. But we’ll tackle the tough issues, like how to transition to being a full-time writer, how to get your first credit, and how to convince potential employers to take you seriously. Other topics include: effective networking, pitching and selling, and working with editors / story-editors. If you’ve ever asked, “How do I break in?” or – even more important – “How do I keep getting work once I’ve got my foot in the door?”, this panel is definitely for you. Jonathan Callan (Ben 10: Omniverse, Slugterra), Jeremy Adams (Spooksville, Thunderbirds Are Go!), Lisa Kettle (Miles from Tomorrowland), Mairghread Scott (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers Prime) and Matt Wayne (Ben 10: Omniverse, Justice League: Unlimited, Hellboy: Sword of Storms).

Sunday 9/13
Room 101A
1:30pm – 2:30pm
LOST IN TRANSLATION: APPLYING YOUR OWN VOICE TO SOMEONE ELSE’S CHARACTERS Q: How
do you apply your own voice and imagination to someone else’s characters? A: Very carefully. For
more sage advice on playing in pop culture’s best sandboxes and how to NOT lose anything in translation,
join writers Mike Johnson (Star Trek; Supergirl), Mairghread Scott (Transformers), Jody Houser
(Orphan Black), and Joe Harris (X-Files) comics as they talk about comics and dispense free advice.

 

Hope to see you there!

Mairghread

Getting the right cover can be difficult. The cover is the first image that people will see of your book and your first, best chance to sell them on it. It will be the most-shared image and the image most equated with the title. For a limited series like Toil and Trouble, we wanted our covers to have a visual theme that connects each issue. We also wanted to use the covers to show off our cast, the relationships between them, and how they will change over the course of the series.

For the main Toil and Trouble covers, our editor Whitney Leopard hired artist Kyla Vanderklugt. Kyla had previously worked on Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches with Whitney and her style seemed a perfect for our series. The cover process often starts with a few cover concepts. These are generally rougher sketches that show off the layout without as much detail, but as you’ll see below, Kyla went all out on her concepts to really give us a sense of what they would look like. Here is what Kyla had to say about her concept pitches:

“One’s inspired by illuminated manuscripts (I was looking at the Book of Deer) – the sidebars showing bits of scenery from the issue, here the ships arriving and maybe the standing stones in the far distance.

The second one’s more minimalistic, for this one I was thinking of a similar central composition for each issue’s cover; so this one has a standing stone, and the second could perhaps feature Macbeth and an upright war banner – that sort of thing.

The last one doesn’t have to have the circular graphic design. I was playing around with designs that looked like a crown.”

issue 1 cover conceptscover_inkv2Whitney, Kyla, and I loved the design of cover 1, but felt that with so much going on we lost the witches who wanted to be the focus. We also felt that while cover 3 had a strong focus on the witches, cover 2 had the most potential for future covers following a similar design aesthetic. Whitney suggested taking the braided knotwork bands from cover 1 and adding them to cover 2 to help the series logo stand out from the image itself.

The inks looked really good so the next step was to add color. Here we played around with a few different ideas. White background, colored background, different color fires. We wanted to subtly sell that something supernatural was occurring here. These aren’t just women standing around a fire, these are magical beings. I suggested that we color the sky in that muddled yellow green that you only see during tornadoes and Whitney suggested that we change the color of the fire to blue or green to make it more magical. Since fairy fire (naturally occurring flames that happen in swamps) is blue, we went with that. Having all of these colors be natural, but still unusual to find in nature helps us ground our magic in a more real (and hopefully more unnerving) place.

issue 1 cover color ideasWith the colors complete, Jillian Crab designed our logo and actually nailed it right away. I love that our names are in a very old, gothic-looking style and that she kept that feeling while making the actual title a little tattered. It looks like it’s been through some toil and trouble itself. Also the gradient not only echoes the color in our braiding, but gives it a slightly ominous feeling.

Toil-and-Trouble-Main-Cover-by-Kyla-VanderklugtBet you never realize so much work went into a cover! Special thanks to the art, design and editorial team on this book, they not only do amazing work, but are putting with all of my foibles and historical fact-checking while creating that amazing work.

Issue 1 of Toil and Trouble by myself, Mairghread Scott, and Kelly & Nichole Matthews will be available September 2nd at your local comic shop and on digital platforms. Issue 2 is now available for pre-order and you can get the whole series at Boom Studios website. Stay tuned for future looks behind the scenes of Toil and Trouble.

Til then, Hail and Farewell!

 

 

Earlier this week, I discussed the design process for the three witches, Smertae, Riata and Cait from my new comic series, Toil and Trouble with Kelly & Nichole Matthews. However, what adaptation of Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth could be complete without Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?

When I approached the design process for the human characters, it was important to me that they be very grounded in reality and match the actual history of the time, so that they would contrast nicely with the supernatural elements of our witches. The real King Macbeth lived in 11th century Scotland, so that is where my research began. I compiled a secret Pinterest board full of all the reference images I could find. Everything from clothes to ships to furniture to archaeological evidence from the time. I even traveled to Scotland to visit museums and castles, taking hundreds of reference photos.

Macbeth design Kyla

Character Design by Kyla Vanderklugt

Remember that I mentioned it can be hard to find images from a specific area and time period and one of my tricks was to look for specific historical figures for reference? Well the people in Macbeth’s area didn’t leave a lot of records about their fashion. But the people that lived to the south of them, the Anglo-Saxons, had a ton of stuff, especially in Macbeth’s time period, where they were fighting the Normans. By looking at examples of their fashion and comparing it to Norman fashion and the few references for Scottish fashion I could find (aided by the local Scottish museums I saw on my trip), I think we were able to come up with some likely outfits for our characters. Special shout-out to the SCA (a group of medieval reenactors who do fabulous research) and the Bayeux Tapestry (a giant, embroidered graphic novel of sorts that shows the Norman Conquest of England). P.S. As a cross-stitcher, I have a special love for this tapestry because a friend told me they got to see it in person and the back is nowhere near “as nice as the front”. In your face ladies who say your back needs to look like your front!

I digress.

So where did we start with Macbeth’s design? Here is my initial description to Kyla Vanderklugt.

Macbeth: A man in his later middle-ages, starting to go gray. Macbeth is still very much a warrior, but is starting to pass his prime (think Eddard Stark from GoT) and his age only seems to compound itself as our story goes on. Still, when he smiles he smiles with his eyes, a dazzling forest green that still look young.

We know that Macbeth was called “ruddy” in descriptions of him, which can mean anything from darker skinned (like you see in Kyla’s design) to essentially tan from being outside, to rosy cheeked, to having red hair. We decided to go with the idea that Macbeth was dark-haired (to contrast with Smertae and Banquo, the two characters around him most often) but tanned from being outside all the time.

Macbeth kickingshoes

Art by Kelly and Nichole Matthews

Also, as I dug deeper, we realized Macbeth was mostly likely born around 1005, so he would only have been 35 at the time he became king. So you see Macbeth got aged down and bulked up a bit in the transition from Kyla to the Matthews’ sisters design. The Scots seemed to make a big deal about their kings being active and physically fit men though, so I think our final designs really fit the bill.

Nitpicker’s note: I did also find reference to Macbeth being “cat eyed” but my sources so completely disagreed on what the heck that meant, I had to disregard it.

Next, to match our lovely Macbeth, we must include our Lady Macbeth to match.

lady macbeth Kyla

Character Design by Kyla Vanderklugt

Ah, Lady Macbeth, one of the most universally hated women in all fiction. Most people don’t realize that she is also based on a real person. The actual Lady Macbeth was named Gruoch and Macbeth was her second husband. She also had a son, Lulach, that she brought to her marriage…and that’s about all we know. No age, no physical descriptions, nada. We can guess she was a bit older than Macbeth (him being her second husband and her being his first wife) and Shakespeare does reference that Lady Macbeth had a child at one point (though he never says what happened to them). Everything else is up for grabs. so here’s where we started when I described her to Kyla.

Lady Macbeth: A middle-aged dark haired woman. Lady Macbeth is the kind of perfect that’s been hollowed out by disappointment. She’s lost  weight at some point and there’s a limpness to her body and her breasts.

And you can see that’s exactly what we got. I love her design and you can see it transition quite well in this flashback from the Matthews’ sisters. She got filled out a bit more, especially in her flashbacks, which are supposed to be Lady Macbeth at her happiest. But, unlike every Hollywood movie ever, she isn’t 18 married to a 50 year old. And while she’s pretty, she’s not a supermodel dropped into 11th century Scotland.

lady macbeth kickingshoes

Flashback Art by Kelly and Nichole Matthews

Some sources indicate she might have had some embroidery on her clothes or more jewelry, but I preferred to give her a slightly more streamlined design so it would stay consistent. Despite my rambley posts, we are a graphic novel, not a history textbook.

Anyway, now that you’ve met the major cast of Toil and Trouble, I hope you’ll come back for more! Stay tuned for future posts looking at background design, cover design, our historical research and the scripting process. 

Toil and Trouble #1 will be available in stores and digitally on September 2nd and can be pre-ordered at your local comic shop with the form below or you can get a subscription at the Boom Studios website.

Toil_and_Trouble_order_form