Dollhouse: The High Roller Part 1 / Mayes Meindert

Dollhouse: The High Roller Part 1 / Mayes Meindert

Dollhouse: The High Roller Part 1 — Mayes Meindert

Icon for Mayes Meindert
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Crit level: In-depth critique preferred
tags: garland steelestring, mayes meindert, webtoon

Critiques & Comments
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# 8   Posted: Jun 7 2020, 06:20 AM
Very compelling story. What's next for Mayes? Who are these 3 people? I can't believe your patience in drawing so many hands. That alone impressed me. I love the coloring as well and I am excited to see you draw more humans!

As for the crits -  like what was already said - the gag scene was a bit sudden and out of the blue so I feel like that could've been expanded more. Also just more practice of course. Some facial anatomy for the humans looked off but overall they look good. I highly recommend flipping the canvas every now and then to see any lopsided-ness in drawings overall.

Again, great job! You're getting better and better.

# 7   Posted: May 23 2020, 06:39 PM
Well done, dude. Coloring ended up being not bad at all!  Especially considering the last-minute rush. Keep up the good work!

# 6   Posted: May 23 2020, 09:02 AM
Interesting premise, very well executed to me to get hooked in, I enjoyed this comic and wanna see where its going, great job Arts.

# 5   Posted: May 23 2020, 01:52 AM
I like seeing Mayes here in what seems to be his element with gambling, as unhealthy as it is for him hahah. The use of gradients on the figures looks really great as well- I especially like how it looks on skintones, and the way you've drawn Mayes in this comic's looking really good, that page 2 panel where he's quickly looking around is probably my favorite lol-- I also like the auctioneer guy's design hahah

I agree with the crits so far, for quick fixes the biggest thing I can think of is to add numbers to the auction paddles on page 2, I'm thinking maybe in white? The black paddle blends into the background a little bit, and the auctioneer does call out a number so I feel it'd make sense that they have numbers regardless of being distinguished by shape/color. There's also one or two places where I see could be cleaned up a little (a small dot on page 1 panel 1, a couple dots and edges on page 2 panel 1's background) so I'd recommend taking a quick look for stuff like that, though it's super minor. Also i see that little prosthetic hand our masked scorpion mans holding, very sneaky lol I like that little hint

For other crit, the gag part caught me off guard a little as it appears to be magic but we don't really have much indication that there's magic in this world yet (With it being a webtoon, I assume readers there will not have much context for the world so far), though we do get a confirmation on the next page with Mayes' magic listed on his card. What I'm also left wondering about a little is who's money are they gambling? Is this still their own money or are they given money? I assume they're gambling to hold up the illusion that there's nothing illegal happening but I don't think it's made entirely clear that the gambling is in a different room as the auction, so it doesn't feel clear as to why they need to have that cover. I'm not entirely sure how to remedy that besides more establishing shots? Though I fear that would've broken the flow hahah. Does Mayes know he is being sold? He seems very genuinely happy at the tables despite the situation. Though that could just be saying a lot about him as maybe the thrill of gambling is enough to elate him even while his life is on the line!

Besides that my last note for future stuff is to watch out for the quality of the textures you use, on places like the walls in Mayes' room they seem a little lower resolution compared to the rest of the art. And with such clear gradients on the figures I'd recommend extending that to the background a bit more, especially on walls/floors! I notice it in a few places but not quite everywhere, so I'd say it'd look nicer and more consistent if you were to lean into that a little more.

This turned out super long I don't know how to spoiler, apologies loool but! This comic rocks and it's clear you've been improving a lot, great stuff good luck on the next episode!

# 4   Posted: May 22 2020, 08:57 PM
This was really interesting. I enjoyed the first page, it had a nice rhythm to it with the called out phrases and the different arrangements of cards. Mayes’ expressions are very good here too, I loved all of his happy faces on page 1! You’ve improved a lot, and I feel like you’re using the body to aid with emoting more, good job!

I like how you did the crowd scenes, I know you struggled with them a lot but I think you managed to give a good effect without drawing everybody (after that first panel). I also think Mayes’ room was good - it was empty but with the texture and situation, it felt intentional. It definitely gave off a kind of desolate air, especially with what seems to be the single light shining right on the bottle of alcohol and the hitlist, as if they’re Mayes’ only option/hope. I like that detail.

For “quick fixes” like you asked, what stood out to me was that characters have shading on their person but no shadows? If everything only had flat colours it would have been fine, but it’s in this weird limbo - a gradient on the characters doesn’t make them seem in shadow when things like the table are still the same bright colour. Adding some shadows on the table on page 1 would help a lot imo. Also sometimes the characters have nails and sometimes they don’t, which is a little distracting, so you could add those in. And on page 3, Mayes’ “card” is kind of squashed during the auction scene, so you could just adjust that back to normal!

Moving onto the in-depth critique you requested, under the cut because it’s longg.

Spoiler: Crit crit • show

While I enjoyed the first scene I have to wonder, why are they allowed to gamble? Why is everybody unrestrained? Sure they may be locked in, but there’s a giant hall of non-imprisoned people and seemingly only one guard per table. What’s stopping them simply banding together to fight? I would have liked a little more context. And if you wanted to show how Mayes gambled, perhaps a flashback could have worked better? Iirc from bits and pieces in the discord he’s here bc he’s in debt, maybe while the auction was happening he could have reminisced about gambling, thinking that was how he ended up here, and had a flashback. That way you could have shown us the same information, but in a way that makes more sense.

The auction in general could have been expanded upon too. I’m not quite sure why the crowd is so willing to drop all this money on people they can’t see. Why aren’t Mayes and the others up on the stage? What are they showing that would make potential bidders want to buy them? Why are they even being sold? I’m no expert myself, but from what I know people are usually trafficked into forced sex or labour (and occasionally organ theft). How is a simple plaque, not even showing the full body, giving people enough information to want to spend literal thousands? It’s uncomfortable to think about, but you gotta consider what the bidders see as valuable in the people being sold.

On the second page, there is what looks like... a ball gag if I’m honest wrapped around somebody’s head, but it appears out of nowhere. Where did it come from? If it was like... a thrown device it would make sense, but how did the guard have the time to get up, strap this thing around his head, and then use it to control him? Is it supposed to function like a lasso? Because if so a shot of it being thrown would have made it much clearer.

I think a flower brush was a good idea, and it works for shots that are further away such as Mayes’ picture on his card, but up close it’s jarring for me. They’re too consistent and the fact that they’re lineless while Mayes has lineart kind of clashes. I think you should draw the flowers individually in closeups. There was a similar issue with the playing cards - they’re lineless but held in hands that with lineart, not to mention from the back they’re lineless but from the front they do have lines! It’s just inconsistent, I’d recommend lining everything.

Onto expressions, like I said I loved Mayes’ faces, but you really need to work on your humans. Every human looked pretty blank here in almost every shot, apart from the one guy’s outbursts on page 2. I know that guy was supposed to be hopeless, so his expressions make sense, but the other player and the guard also look blank, and when the guy is effectively muzzled I can’t tell what he’s thinking at all. I don’t see anything like fear or shock in his face. In general the human heads need work too, structure-wise. For example everyone’s jaws connect directly into their temples? And the ears are often positioned really high, I’m guessing because you’re used to anthro ears, which are way higher up on the head. All I can recommend is more studies tbh.

I’ve mentioned this before, but your dialogue never hits quite right imo. It’s sort of stilted, oddly formal and exposition-y. It somewhat works with Garland given his personality, although even then at times it feels off, but with other people it’s pretty noticeable. For example Mayes explains the game to the other players as if they don’t know the rules, even though they’ve been playing this whole time. If it was background narration it might have worked, but as dialogue it doesn’t. It’s clearly for the reader’s benefit and hasn’t been adapted for a conversation. Similarly when one such player has an outburst, he yells that “our lives are being sold and they’re keeping us here”, which just seems like an odd thing to say to other people in the same situation? I can understand someone being frustrated about things and yelling about them, but not so clearly spelling things out. The dialogue also felt like an unnatural escalation from Mayes talking about gambling chances. You can DM me if you want some advice with dialogue, because it’s really hard to explain all that without an even longer post OTL

A final note: I’m guessing Mayes is based on goats with completely floppy ears, and that’s why they seem somewhat shapeless and aren’t utilised in his expressions. However they seem like they’re floating in a lot of the shots rather than flopping. Even floppy ears have weight to them, and they should hang straight down. When he’s moving you’re able to illustrate this already, such as the second panel on page 2, you can see them fly out as he shakes his head. So just keep it in mind that the weight still applies when he’s stationary!

# 3   Posted: May 22 2020, 04:32 PM
This was neat Arts! Kinda clarifies the SDT Mayes.

The first page seems to be a different resolution than what you may have intended. It was rather fuzzy for me. A couple of perspective tweaks with the cards on the table in panel three page two.

Catscorpion. Scatorpion?

Community Manager
# 2   Posted: May 21 2020, 11:49 PM
finally finished this X,X This is all going to be the first episode for when i realease this as a webtoon. I can make some small edits so any little issues like that that are quick fixes would be nice to point out. also any recomendations for stuff i can work on in the future episodes will be nice.

Community Manager
# 1   Posted: May 2 2020, 07:34 PM
I have been working on a webtoon for the short story contest, however progress has been slow so I'm putting this up to make sure I get the first episode done by a week and potentially more after.

Comic Details -

Drawing Time: 1 week
Ended: May 28th, 2020
Votes Cast: 15
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