We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephen Ehrmann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephen, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I have always pursued a career in art in some form or another, at first I thought what I wanted to do was concept art, and then it was illustration. While I felt like I was always swimming in a good general direction, I always felt like I lacked some intangible piece of what I needed to achieve this end. Maybe I didn’t hustle hard enough, maybe my ego was in the way, maybe I was self sabotaging, or maybe It was a combination of a hundred little hurtles I didn’t understand. Ultimately, after a couple years of hardship that peaked for me as a single father and loosing the job that paid my bills due to Covid-19, I made a decision to set my sights on something specific and achieve it, no matter what it was, it would be my evidence to myself and my daughter that I achieved something. For me the goal was to publish a kids graphic novel that dealt with the process of grief that my my daughter and I had gone through after the loss of her mother. It didn’t matter if It was published or made any money, all that mattered is that I made it and it was out in the world.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My big flagship item is a middle grade graphic novel called Major Leyley. The story follows a little girl coping with the loss of her mother. Leyley takes a space ship and blasts off into an adventure through space in search of her mommy. Along the way she meets her loyal companions, a medical and flight support robot named Chloe, and a wayward space chimp named Captain Max. Together they explore the cosmos as Leyley learns to find joy and strength in her grief. It is a story that I began to plot out after I had been laid off and it served the purpose of helping me cope with the stress and grief of loosing my fiance the previous year and to help process the experience of raising our daughter as she goes through her own grief. I originally wanted to make a picture book but it eventually turned into a graphic novel as a reflection of my own love for comics and the complicated nature of the feelings the story addresses. My hope is that this becomes a helpful tool to anyone experiencing the loss of a loved one, and especially for children
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
So supposing that this friend was from my hometown, getting some mountain scenery would be priority number one, so a lot of hiking. I would go to Chicago Lakes up around the Mt. Evans area. We would also have to get out to marathon a bunch of comic book and toy stores, definitely getting mile high comics warehouse in there. Maybe we could drive to the springs and go to the Cheyenne Mt. zoo and feed some giraffes, especially if this is something we are doing with my kid. There are a few little hole in the wall places to eat that I really like, I guess it decides on what we are feeling. Los Carboncitos or Star Thai or Jerusalem Restaurant.
That’s pretty much all I would keep on my short list but given the timing I’de love to get to see a concert at red rocks on top of it all, I don’t even care who we would be there to hear.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My daughter, Monroe, is my first and biggest source of inspiration and encouragement, hands down. Without her, who’s to say if I would even have the drive to finish anything. Her mom and my fiance who we lost in 2019 was endlessly encouraging and also deserves credit for her support and inspiration. Beyond them I have benefited from the support, love, and discouragement of far too many friends and family member to list but I do want to give a specific shout out to Andy Nilles, Even Mitchel, and Danielle Charbonneau for going out of their way to give me editorial input throughout the process my my first fully fleshed story.