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It's Halloween! Today, for anybody interested, I'd like to share my newest (spooooky) story: The Snow, The Jungle. Included below is the first portion--if you'd like the rest, comment or PM me and I'll send it along!


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    On the fourth pale day of January, the hilltops were drowned in cloud. Heavy blankets came churning over the ridges of Montgomery County, tearing themselves to shreds on the naked forests and dumping their winter cargos. Snow drifted on the wind, racing over the narrow valleys and icy creeks. The bitter air squeezed against the branches, set dogs in the holler to cowering and men to sit above the cooking coals, and still the clouds came, an endless ocean pouring in toward the distant Appalachians.

    The clouds rolled, and the snow flurries fell. But not one fell on the high slopes of Bell Mountain. There the clouds arched. There the cold wavered. There the snow fell as rain, rain that pattered and dripped along jungle leaves.

    The black folk living at the edge of Ankle’s Holler noticed first, and since nobody asked, said nothing. As far as the people around Troy knew, it began when a white coon hunter ran his dogs up the mountain, near the Taylor estate, and returned telling of weeds, queer weeds that overgrew the road up to the man’s land. Others saw the same thing. Soon they saw more; the land, always green in summer, was growing greener, even as the surrounding woods browned and blackened with the seasons. The character of that forest was changing too, in ways the travelers hesitated to describe. Those who went to look for themselves soon found a road swallowed by moss deeper and ferns larger than any they’d ever seen, blooming against the cold. Wisps of steam crept along the ground. Beyond that, the trees closed in.

    And that was all at the turn of the road, far from Taylor’s home. What was up there now, people wondered, hidden by the forest? How long had the smothering green been growing up there in the mountain willowwacks, growing through the trees and the boulders, a thick, choking wall spilling down from the trunks and across the road?

So the whispers spread like falling snow, beneath the notice of the respectable, carried by travelers on the cold trails. And in time, they reached the ears of the wanderer Anna O’Brien, who shouldered her bag and turned her stride toward Troy.

Hey, everybody! Long time, no see. I'm going to have some art to post pretty soon, but right now I want to share some pretty cool news. My short story "The Wampus Mask" has just been published by the online magazine NAMELESS. And you can read it HERE for free! 

What's it about, you might ask? It's about ancient horror. Desperate magic. Vengeance. It's about witches and ghosts and curses, about dark forests and high canyons. And it's about one young woman named Anna O'Brien, who is about to walk a path stranger than she could have ever dreamed....

So what are you guys waiting for? Head on over and take a look!  


Hey everybody. You guys might have noticed a certain....lag in updates. This is not because of a loss of inspiration or anything particularly serious; I've just been running around so much this summer that I haven't really had time to draw. That, and I don't have a scanner. I'll be up in the mountains of North Carolina for the next two months recording folk music, which is cool. But I won't have a scanner there either. So basically, no new updates from me until August or so.

Till then, amigos!
Well, I love y'all too. I want to give a huge, huge thanks to everyone who's ever taken the time to stop by, peruse, or leave a comment. Thanks to the support of this community I've grown hugely as an artist, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for it. But surely, the best is yet to come.
To 50,000 more, and beyond!

Yours,

Asher Yosef Elbein
Hey, everybody! As you may or may not know, I blog for "Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs," a blog devoted to all things paleontological. With the recent release of John Conway and C.M Koseman's excellent All Yesterdays, we've decided to throw a little contest. But this one is different then the other two. In this one, we're looking for dinosaurs with style.

What kind of style? How about cubism? Art Nouvaeu? Impressionism? Pacific Northwestern Tribal? Cartooning? We want speculative behaviors and wild reconstructions, served up with distinct artistic flair.

Contest details are at chasmosaurs.blogspot.com/2013/… and prizes offered include a copy of the new book Dinosaur Art, a book of vintage dinosaur art, and a signed illustration from yours truly!

Send all entries to chasmosaurs@gmail.com. Deadline is March 1st.

Happy creating!
Two women hunt the murderer of their band in a deserted rock quarry. Written, produced, and directed by Asher Elbein. I've been working on this for a while, and since I can't directly upload it to share it with you lovely people, this link will have to do. I hope you guys enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCRmOc…
People who know me well know that I love westerns. Like, to an unhealthy degree. So when I was assigned to produce a trailer for class, I naturally decided to cut one for my favorite western, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Here it is!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVJ-u3…

Hope y'all dig.
Which, full disclosure, I am in. If you ever wanted to see me act (or, in this case, overact) you should watch this. It's pretty funny.

If you've ever played risk, then this will also be familiar.

www.campusmoviefest.com/movies…

Hope you folks enjoy it! And send it on to your friends, if you do. :)
As you all know, I attend University of Alabama for most of the year. As you all also may know, a series of massive tornadoes rolled through the south, killing over 300 people. I was in Tuscaloosa when a mile wide twister tore the downtown neighborhoods to shreds and obliterated Alberta City. I moved rubble, helped carry food, and saw how catastrophic the damage is. Yesterday, the President declared Alabama to be a disaster state. In other words, we need all the help we can get.

If you want to donate nonperishable food, tarps, clothing (especially underwear, socks, and shoes) and newborn and baby items. Monetary donations are also needed. If you're interested, as I pray you are, then you can join (www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=g…) and help out. If you don't want to join the group, that's fine. But I urge you to look around and see if there's anything at all you don't need that you can send down to help people who desperately, desperately need it.

We need help. A lot of help. I don't ask for much, on here, and I barely ever update. Take the fact that I'm doing so as an indication of how serious I am. Please don't blow this off.

Good night, and Good Luck.
  • Listening to: Everyone
  • Reading: Everything
  • Watching: A lot of BBC shows
  • Playing: Acoustic Bass
  • Eating: college food
  • Drinking: water
Another year, another journal entry.

What have I been up to? College, mostly. After spending a summer tooling around in Colombia and The Smoky Mountains (photos from these trips have been slowly posted, as I find time) I came to my new home, The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. It's very, very different from anywhere I've ever lived before, but it's college. You learn to expect some departures from your previous routine. I'm taking some interesting classes, thouh the ones that would be of interest to this community are my Vertebrate Paleo class and my seminar on Birding. Hopefully my feathers and legs on theropods will get that much more realistic.

Work wise, it's been sketchier. After getting a few short stories published (one in Arkham Tales, now possibly defunct, One at Fried Fiction, one at Bards and Sages) I now find myself with very little time to write and less time to go through the long submissions process. I'm slowly working on revisions to my novel, and I'm starting to very seriously ponder self publication--it looks like e-books are the wave of the future, after all. Again, I will try and keep everyone abreast of whatever developments, ah, develop. I'm still the Science Editor at www.thefastertimes.com, and have been slowly getting work done there as well. Mostly, though, the exciting news is more local.

As it now stands, I'll be doing some illustration work for the Alabama Musuem of Natural History.

The next year should be interesting. Hopefully, you all will follow me into it.

Cheers, Asher Elbein
  • Listening to: Smoothie Song
  • Reading: Assorted Graphic Novels
  • Watching: Fullmetal ALchemist: Brotherhood
  • Playing: Didgeridoo
  • Eating: pizza
  • Drinking: water
I turned 18 on the 4th of February. For me, this is a time to look back at DA and take stock of what I've accomplished. And in the four or so years I've been on, well, I feel like I've accomplished a lot.

DA has been one of the things that forced me to grow as an artist (the other being prehistoric times) and if you look to some of the older images in my gallery you'll see just how far I've come.

Still, I have work to do. My gallery has a heavy weight toward dinosaurs, and predatory dinosaurs at that. Now, I love theropods as much as the next guy, (or maybe more) but I also feel that there are other families I'm not giving their due. I want to start working in more landscapes and unique actions as well.

Dragons and Kaiju are well represented here as well. Some of those deviations have been wildly popular (A sketch of dragon anatomy comes to mind.) Look for more of them, as well.

2009 was the year I became a writer for The Faster Times thefastertimes.com/dinosaurs/ as their dinosaur correspondent. Now I am proud to announce I have been shanghaied into the role of science editor as well. Be sure to wander over and take a look; it's an up and coming web newspaper and it has something for everyone.

Finally,I am proud to announce that I will be attending the University of Alabama in fall 2010.

I look forward to the coming years with excitement. ANd I hope you all will be here to share them with me.
  • Listening to: Music for 18 musicians
  • Reading: Unseen Academicals
  • Eating: pizza
  • Drinking: water
It's that time of year. The leaves are dropping, the workload is increasing, the temperature is plunging...as are the contents of my wallet. This is a bit of a problem; especially since I have to start building some money up so I can make it to the South Eastern Theatre Conference this March. Why am I going, you might ask? Well, it all has to do with the fact that after a good deal of nagging, my Drama Ensemble director finally produced Trojan Women...which we took to the Georgia Theatre Conference.

We won.

This is excellent news, incidentally. But it presents a slight issue. We've moved up to the next level, and so I, as main cast, NEED TO BE AT THE SETC. Which means I need money. Because its, um, a bit expensive.

All of this is really a rather roundabout way of mentioning that I'm opening commissions for the umpteenth time. If you have a bit of disposable income, then why not buy a personal illustration from yours truly? Or a print. That'd be nice too.

Rates: Dragon sketch: 5$
       Detailed Dragon 10$
       Dinosaur Sketch 5$
       Detailed Dinosaur 25$

      All sketches are black and white. Dinosaur sketches are more expensive beacause I'm a bit neurotic about getting them right. :)


Lastly, I'm writing a paleontology blog over at Thefastertimes.com/dinosaurs and it's updated more or less weekly. Head on over and take a look, and leave a comment if you like it.

Later!
  • Listening to: The Beginning is the End of the Beginning
  • Reading: Dresden Files
  • Watching: Batman: Brave and the Bold
  • Eating: pizza
  • Drinking: water
Well, not really. School has started up once again, and that means it's time for a sketch dump. Not much in the way of finished product here, just a bunch of sketches I may get around to finishing (but ones I'm tired of not posting)

I'm gearing up to do some more short stories and work on the next (more publishable) novel, and that combined with school means that art updates will be erratic, at best. But I am preparing illustrations and designs for the prior short stories and novel, and those will be posted here, if I'm ever satisfied enough with my human anatomy to post them.

Somehow, I've made it up to 15,000 page views without noticing. i should probably get on that. In the meantime, thanks to all of you who've watched and commented for the last few years. It has been and will continue to be awesome.
  • Listening to: The Cool
  • Reading: The 10 cent Plague
Washington DC

Here is a little question.
It's a bit of an ethical delimma, something you're sure to be exposed to at some time or another. And it's simple.
Ready? Here goes.

A man, a famous writer with a sense of humor, is walking down a street late at night. He takes a turn into a dark alley. Several people on the street see him go. One couple has children. Let's say that they're fairly young. Toddlers, in fact. Another is a small man, weak, sickly. A big, strapping policeman is holding a handcuffed convict. And a camera man for a news station.

The writer is mugged by a man with a weapon. He shouts for help. Shadows whirl and flail in the alley. The writer and the mugger are fairly evenly matched. Someone else's help could turn the tide.

This is the first part of our ethical question: Who should help him?
But don't answer that now. It isn't yet relevant.

The writer dies tonight. Maybe he is shot, or knifed, or beaten to death. But here's the kicker. This writer, of whom I speak, had made a provision in his will. "Whosoever causes my death," He has written, "let him own my bones."

Stop, and ponder this, now. Give it a moment, let it swirl about. And now, I ask you.

Who owns the bones?

As some of you have noted, this is not an easy dilemma, and actually has a few logical problems. But the moral dilemma isn't quite the point here. It's only a lead in to something I've been wondering about since Washington, and in some ways as far back as Mammoth Cave. How do we react when we are faced with the suffering of others?

Be warned; what follows has been covered quite often in many, more scholarly places. It is not an attack on journalists; my brother is one, and I have some interest in that field as well. Neither is it a stigma upon photographers, for the same reason. What this little piece represents is my attempt to get to the bottom of a troublesome concept. One which, for lack of a better term, we shall call the clouded lens.

The clouded lens, as I see it, is the way people tasked with the spread of information, and those who receive it, deal with the suffering of others. Bystander Effect, In-group and out-group bias, all of these play into it. But I suspect there is something more as well. Simply put, the clouded lens occurs when people are silent in the face of another's pain.

I first started to think about this in Washington, going through the wonderfull "Newsuem" a collection dedicated to all aspects of the news. But I was troubled by one picture in particular; a shot of a starving child in Africa, lying dessicated and bent on the ground. And in the background, the massive waiting form of a vulture.

That picture won a pulitzer.

I began to look at some of the other pictures in the gallery, and I realized that many of them, too many of them, were depictions of suffering. A couple cried on the beach, their sun dragged down into the brine by an undertow. No less then two pictures of people falling. A ship foundering in the water, people swarming over her decks.

Why?

I understand that a journalist's task is the recording of the story. Perhaps the truth as well, if they can get it. The tale must be told. The images must be seen.

But.

How is it that a man can document such tragedy, and do nothing? How is it a man can see a couple wailing their grief, and reach for his camera instead of comforting them?

Some do, I'm sure. There are some that put aside the camera and rush to the aid of others. And there are some who use that camera, for the aid of others.

But.

Well. I've no desire to see journalism, photojournalism in particular, become a Stepford Story; all smiles above and worms beneath. Horror exists in this world, and that horror must be shown. But how long can you look at the world through a viewfinder, constantly seeking that perfect shot, that timeless interplay of light and structure and emotion? It does something, I think. People, places, events, slowly melt into composition, P.O.V, the interplay of shadow and negative space. The eyes of an orphan of war become the canvass, his rough and spattered clothes a pointalismic collage.

People become portraits. Places become settings. Events become images.

This, too my mind, is the tragedy of the clouded lens. Once you begin to look through it, staring at life from the viewfinder of a camera, you begin to detach yourself from it. The lives of others fade into text, leads, body paragraphs and qoutes. You lose the grasp of real suffering. You see the world as a news item, not as a real place. And all that suffering, in the end, cannot touch you.

When the time comes to say "Who owns the bones," to whom shall they go to? The man who died? The man who did the deed? The men who let him? Or the men who reported it through a lens that shielded them from the horror of it?

And in the end, there is only the picture. And the picture is only the faintest flash of reality.

Sometimes, though, that's enough.

The man who shot the picture of dying child and patient vulture was racked by guilt. He was tormented by those swearing he should have helped the child. But he did not. He shooed the vulture away, but in the end it must have come back. There were plenty of reasons not to pick the child up. All of them good ones.

This photographer committed suicide. I don't read much from that, and I don't think it's a fitting end. I find it, instead, sad. He took the perfect shot, a shot so perfect it cracked that clouded lens and seared the eyes and the brain and the soul behind it.

And that is what the best picture can do, of course. That is why we need the clouded lens. Because occasionally, very occasionally, those who gather pictures remind us of the finger bones in our pocket.
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  • Listening to: The Hero OST
  • Reading: Dresden Files
  • Watching: Several disney films. At once.
It's summer, which means I have approximately two more weeks in Atlanta and then I'm off to the wilds...in this case, the wilds being Mammoth Cave National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Hopefully, there will be something left of it when my SCA crew and I are finished with it. ;) However, in those two weeks, I'm fresh out of illustration inspiration. Seriously. I got nothing. So, in honor of the last two summer last minute sketch extravaganzas, I'm opening requests. That's right. You want to see it, I'll draw it.
Unless, you know, I can't. :P

Also, commissions are open, but I won't get a chance to work on any until July. Rates are quite reasonable, and you can either note me or contact me at Aelbein@gmail.com.
Be warned--as of June 11th, I'm dropping off the radar, and the likely hood of my posting anything is (almost) zip. Be back in July.

RANDOM THOUGHTS!

Just went to see UP, Pixar's new film, with a few friends, including the wonderful :iconzeester: and after pondering the film, I have this to say. It's a very deliberately paced film, and the opening acts are some powerful expressions of the animators art. The last two acts get a little slapsticky, but I'm all for clever slapstick. There are some fun shout outs to art pieces, silent films, and newsreels of yesteryear, some gorgeous character and landscape animation, and wonderful voice acting. The problems; the later half loses some of the gravitas of the beginning with the introduction of the kid, who is funny and cute and started seriously getting on my nerves. He didn't ruin the movie, or tarnish it, but the film started feeling a tad formulaic toward the end, which is a pity. However, it is far and away the best animated film I've seen released in a few years.  

Random Thought: Is there anyone who is actually going to see that abominable G-Force movie? Secret Agent Guinea Pigs? What the hell kind of pitch meeting was that? God, Disney, get your act together and put out a decent animated film, something like...

Random Thought: The Princess and the Frog. Finally. Old school broadway disney flick, what looks to be some eye-candy animation and voice acting. Also, read a piece in the NY Times about the backlash against the "rasicm" in the film. The article canbe read www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/fas… and I urge you to do so, if only to see how over sensitive people are being.

Random Thought: Softshell Turtle Babies are the cutest things in existence, and I defy anyone to prove differently.

Last Random Thought: The Dresden Files novels are some of the smartest, wittiest, and most intriguing supernatural drama I've read in a long time. The sci-fi show ain't bad either.

Till later, muchachos!
  • Listening to: Iron and Wine
  • Reading: The Anteater of Death (seriously)
  • Watching: Fence Lizards
People apparently really, really like dragons. I post three or four and BAM! Watch rates and faves shoot through the roof.
This is an interesting phenomenon.

In other news, Asher greatly recommends Star Trek. Go see it, trekkie or no--good direction, acting, and story, and just flat out fun.

In other other news, Asher will be going off to Mammoth Cave on June 11th and coming back in early july...of course, I often go longer then that between posts, so I'm not sure how many people will actually notice.

I'm watching FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I'm not sure what to think. Animation and designs are gorgeous,but it seems to be rushing through story. I'm all for a brisk pace, but slow down guys. you're giving me whiplash.

And school's almost finished. Praise the lord.
  • Listening to: Iron and Wine
  • Reading: A Game of Thrones
  • Watching: Fence Lizards
So, I've been informed of this new art hosting website, Artician.com. I know absolutely nothing about it.
Can someone fill me in? I wan't to know wether or not it's worth setting up a profile on there.

Just to clarify, I'm NOT LEAVING DA.

And, BTW, if you haven't seen Duplicity, rectify that immediatly. It's smart, funny, sexy, and just an all around good film.
  • Listening to: Iron and Wine
  • Reading: Cretaceous Dawn
  • Watching: Fence Lizards
Turned the magic number today.
Nothing more to report.
  • Listening to: Iron and Wine
  • Reading: Cretaceous Dawn
  • Watching: Fence Lizards
So, remember that article I mentioned a while back? Well, it's out, in issue #88 of Prehistoric Times. That means yours truly is now, officially, a published writer as well as a published artist. The article deals with a new permanent exhibit at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, where three life sized Hadrosaurs are being erected out front. My article went into the planning and process behind creating them. It was a collaboration with James Hays (VP of Exhibitions) and I am greatly indebted to him for providing me the opportunity. So if you get PT, be sure and have a look!
  • Listening to: Disturbia
  • Reading: Pratchett
  • Watching: goldfish
The winter holidays are three days away, and i've gut a bucket's worth of uploads to put up. It's been a long, rough year, but, the end is in sight and the light at the end of the tunnel is not, for once, a flamethrower.

On further reflection, I've realized that the likelyhood of people actually visiting the alternate account is practically nil, so I'll just upload stuff here. Same game plan with chapters and stuff, but I'll have to consider getting some kind of free website or blog. Or something. I'll update you all when or if that happens.


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What is my novel about?
A traveller, running from a bloody past.
A retired warrior, helping him on the road.
A desolate valley, once verdant and green, now burned to the ground and choking in dust.
A dying village and a desperate people.
And looming over it all, the spectre of a spirit, rage and hunger incarnate known as Ku Xao....
It's a spaghetti western by way of H.P Lovecraft, set on a world where the dinosaurs never died. It's ASHES.

Oh, and if you're interested, call me.