Christy Otto is an Amishman living in the LaGrange-Elkhart County settlement in northern Indiana. He is known for his artwork.
Being an artist and Amish is not the most common combination, but there are more and more people who can describe themselves that way. Christy has become quite well-known in Amish circles for his drawings and paintings.
David Arment, who helped put this Q&A together, can give you a better intro on Christy than I can:
Christy Otto lives on a farm near Topeka, Indiana. Christy and his wife Edna run a green house. This keeps them very busy from about March to July. Christy cuts fire wood, bales hay and paints and draws.
He illustrates for “The Truck Patch News”. This publication takes 12 illustrations each year and turns them into a very popular calendar. Popular among the Amish community that is.
His paintings are also used for calendars. Calendars he and his family assemble in his work space and sell to the small Amish and Mennonite stores that are in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
And Christy’s illustrations are compiled into books. Currently there are two books, with a third due yet in 2022. These books are“cartoonish”. Each cartoon illustration is accompanied by a story. The stories come to Christy in the mail, in envelopes from the Amish community. They tell him about bees, horses, windstorms, falling off a ladder, fishin’, school benches…. If you are “English” you may have to study on a page for a while to figure out what’s going on. And all the animals seem to be smiling.
Win one of Christy’s books
We’re giving away a copy of one of Christy’s books. To enter to win, simply leave a comment on this post. I’ll choose a winner at random and post it next week.
A special thanks also to David. To make this happen, I passed the questions on to David, who got them to Christy, who hand-wrote out his answers, which I then typed out here. You might recall a previous Q-&-A with David or his guest posts, like the one on Amish phone shacks. David’s photos of the Amish and other subjects, you’ll find at armentphoto.com.
Q&A with Christy Otto, Amish Artist
Amish America: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Christy Otto: I was born in LaGrange County, Indiana in a family of eight, five boys and three girls. I was the fourth child. We grew up one mile West of the small town of Emma on an 80-acre farm.
How did you get started with drawing?
Christy Otto: I was drawing before I went to school. Had a grandpa that could draw some, he got me interested in art.
How do you get your ideas?
How do I get my ideas? For my cartoons, if something happens in the community that is out-of-the-ordinary, somebody lets me know about it and I sketch it if it was funny or had a happy ending.
What are your favorite things to draw?
My favorite in art is to sketch and paint wildlife or farm life. I paint with acrylics.
Do you have a process or habits that help you draw? Or is it more about feeling inspired or moved to create something?
I get inspired if I see a nice sunset or sunrise or just taking a walk through the woods. Just observing Creation I get inspired.
Any funny or interesting stories you could share?
The first real attempt at drawing, I was maybe in first grade. I had a picture of an Indian on horseback that I wanted to draw. So I got a pencil and paper and stretched out on the living room floor. After I was done, I showed it to Mom and Dad and they said it was really good. Then mom taped it on the wall for all to see. That’s when I decided I will be an artist!
What rewards do you feel it brings you?
The rewards of my art is not measured by money but that people love and appreciate my art, what I love to create.
Why do you think people appreciate your drawings?
I believe people like it if I have art that tells a story, or can relate to the picture.
Where can people find your artwork?
So far I use my paintings for calendars that we put together here at our shop for the last 15 years. I did not sell any of my originals, maybe someday, if people get interested 🙂
How to get Christy’s books
If you’d like to get ahold of Christy’s books, you’ll need to do it the old-fashioned way – either from a local Amish or Mennonite bookstore, or direct from Christy himself (they’re not on Amazon). Here’s the info for that:
6075 S 300 W
Topeka, IN 46571
Include a check… $13 for one book, $25 for two. Free shipping.
Thanks to Christy for sharing this with us!
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Love to read this
This artwork looks really nice! I’d love to have the book.
I love the drawings! Would love to receive a copy of the book.
Christy Otto’s talent for observing and drawing is a blessing
from the Creator, and may that talent be used to bring joy
to others and honor to God.
Brother Jeremy Dominic
Love to hear a the story of a passionate artist! these books look absolutely beautiful
That seems fascinating and enjoyable
I would love to hear the narrative of an artist that is enthusiastic about their work. These books have a really elegant appearance.
Would love to read this!
Looks like a beautiful book!
a former Hoosier
I enjoyed Mr. Otto’s drawings and would love to have a copy of his book. I was born and raised in Indiana, but am now retired in Florida – not all that far from Pinecraft. I plan to pop over there next week for a meal at Yoder’s.
These cartoons are terrific fun, and I definitely need these books. 🙂
Beautiful Books Christy Ott
Thank-you for such cheerful Artwork, it brings smiles and laughter. I can relate to the washing machine mishap !
Beautiful Books Christy Ott
Thank-you for such cheerful Artwork, it brings smiles and laughter.
Great artwork, very clean and fun.
Beautiful Books with Amish Artist Christy Ott (Book Giveaway)
Thank you so much for sharing the information and illustrations from Christy Ott. I enjoy reading about the Amish from you. Thank you so much for the chance to win. Susan
I’d love to know where to get the calendars! The artwork is beautiful.
Love to enter
These are delightful! I would sure enjoy having both books and a calendar. If I don’t win maybe I can treat myself after the holidays. Thanks for doing this Erik.
You have great talent..
What was so impressive about your drawings is they have a story to them..They are beautiful and really puts a smile on your face. Really would love to see your book..I am sure the calendars are really something to see..I am glad you can do something with your talent, as you can tell by looking at them that you are happy doing it..Thank you for sharing with us…Alberta
Would love to Read!!
Thanks for sharing the Great Talents and Humor of Christy Ott,
What lovely work, Christy! Thank you for sharing your wonderful talents with us and thank you so much for posting this Erik! What a great blessing
What lovely work, Christy! Thank you for sharing your wonderful talents with us and thank you so much for posting this Erik! What a great blessing-I would love to win!!
What a beautiful way to use his talent! I love that the illustrations also have a story behind them.
I would love this book for my daughter, which she will share with me. A woman with many responsibilities that at times are overwhelming to her she longs for when she can have a much simpler lifestyle. She perceives and I admire her for this determination and help as much as I can. If I don’t win, I will buy the book for her.
Love This Man's Talents
I wish he lived in/near Lancaster County so that we could have him paint a large farm picture on our dining room wall.
Thankyou for sharing your gift with us all Christy!
In the Budget there are pictures that school children have drawn, so there is talent out there in the world!
Safe in Christ, Always
Great book wanted here!
I would love to get this book!
Another part of Amish life I enjoyed reading about! Thanks!
These are incredible drawings! Thanks for sharing your talent with the rest of us.
What a Gifted Artist
I adore Christy’s paintings and plan to order a book.
This is crazy! In a good way!! We come down to Shipshewana from NW IN many times a year to enjoy the beautiful back roads on our little Yamaha Zuma scooters during the summer and to buy flowers in the spring. And we’ve been here!! We love this area and I love when you feature the Shipshe area in your writings. PS, the next time you get to Topeka, stop at Tiffany’s Restaurant (but it’s closed on Sunday)!!
Q&A with Amish artist
I’ve followed the Amish since I was a teen and now that I’m in my 60’s I can have more of an appreciation of their lives! They work so hard on a daily basis, that I’m surprised Christy had time for art! I so love how they use their time very wisely!
I just finally got to see some Amish farms and wow, I’m so impressed!
This man seems so very interesting!
I really liked his drawings here and the little stories that go with them. He seems like a very genuine, down to earth person. I do so love reading the Amish columns and stories.
A wonderful and delightful book. I wish it was available at bookstores.
Christy Otto book
Looks very entertaining
Very nice. Would love to receive a copy.
Great Art work!
I love to read, mostly amish books. The artwork is awesome too! I would love a copy of this book
This looks so awesome! The artwork is great! I would love a copy of this book
I absolutely adore these drawings! They seem so whimsical and yet enduring. I have so enjoyed the pictures and stories. Even more since moving into the middle of an Amish area in Michigan, we have had such a lovely time meeting so many new friends.
First 50 winners
I am so blessed to be one of the first 50 winners (Mary M)
I don’t know how to contact you’re address so I put it in the mail spot above. if that’s not correct please let me know?
Amish in the UK
I love this site as being in England you don’t get to hear much about Amish life and what you do hear isn’t a true representation. This site gives so much about daily life, beliefs, music, transport, crafts, friendship and much more. It’s so interesting. Thank you
Christy Otto Book Giveaway
I think the drawings are amazing. I wonder how difficult it is for him though??? I’d be tickled pink to win one of his books!!!
cristy Otto book
I really get a kick out of these drawings by Cristy Otto. When the magazine Rainbows and Sunshine was still publishing, they had a Cristy Otto drawing in each issue and children were encouraged to write in their version of what was happening. It’s interesting to know more about the artist.
Christy Otto Book Giveaway
Amazing artwork! Would love to have it in my home. It reminds me of my background!
I love these!
So much fun looking at these pictures!
I love the artwork!
Thank you for this opportunity! How fun!
What whimsical and lovely artwork! I’d love to read this book!
Christy Otto Book Giveaway
Eric, I got my book, & it’s SUCH a fun read! Please pass my thanks along to Christy! I only wish I’d gotten it in time to take w/ me to a friend’s last week, where her 2-year-old grandson showed up unexpectedly. I know he’d have gotten a huge kick out of having it read to him. You can rest assured that I’ll be saving it for my future grandchildren, but I’ll be reading it many times before they come along.
Very happy to hear that Adrienne, I’m sure Christy will be glad to know too!
I would like a book
I am trying to learn a much a I can about the Amish. I am so fascinated with the lifestyle. The more I learn the more I love it.