Waupaca native a self-made artist
Work on display at library
By James Card
A husband and wife were out for a walk. “Do you have any lifelong goals?” asked the husband. The wife laughed at such a serious question and then she replied, “Someday I want to write a children’s book.”
“So why are you not doing that right now?” said the husband.
That conversation put Missy Mittelstaedt on the path to becoming a writer and illustrator.
They were recent college graduates and didn’t have any children at the time. In 2010, she was working at an auto body shop filing insurance claims and during her lunch breaks she started writing short stories.
In 2014 she had her first son, and her second son was born a year later. She had plenty of stories written but nothing published.
Motherhood was the trigger to get one of her stories turned into a book. In 2015 she joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
At one of their conferences, she watched a woman sketch out some scenes. Mittelstaedt was intrigued. She grew up always working on artistic projects but never thought of herself as an artist.
“Drawing is just like anything else, the more you practice … you can do it. You can draw like this,” said the women. Mittelstaedt never learned her name but this comment by a stranger was the spark to try her hand at illustrating her own stories.
“The Art & Words of Missy Mittel” is currently on display at the Waupaca Public Library. This exhibit will continue until Jan. 29.
Mittelstaedt shortened her name to Mittel to use as a pen name, making it easier for readers to remember and spell and find online.
She spent so much time querying publishers of children’s books that she found she wasn’t creating anything new. So she went the self-publishing route and printed her books at Worzalla in Stevens Point.
She is the author of two hardcover books, “I Love You More Than Macaroni and Cheese,” which was written for her husband, and “Meet Mack-Mack, the Little Lumberjack,” which was written for her first son.
Her second son, a kindergartener awaits his book.
“He is very aware that he is the only one in the family without a book,” said Mittelstaedt and already has this next book written and some of the illustrations done.
With her illustration skills, she branched out into greeting cards. “I feel like my cards became my own thing, because I feel like I can get a little more cheeky,” she said.
Her cards are printed locally at Chain O’ Lakes Litho. She takes pride that all of her work is published in Wisconsin.
She sells her books and cards online on Etsy and also directly to boutiques and stores throughout Wisconsin. Her work can be viewed at https://missymittel.com.