Greg Pizzoli '05 - English and Art & Design

Greg Pizzoli '05 - English and Art & Design

An accomplished creative writer, Greg Pizzoli graduated from Millersville in 2005 with a Bachelor of Art in English Literature & Fine Art. In 2014, Pizzoli won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for his first picture book, The Watermelon Seed. During his time at Millersville, Pizzoli was involved in many extracurricular activities, including the organization of guest lectures about graphic design and illustration. He credits Millersville with helping to develop his writing skills, as he self-published many short books. When asked how he has applied interdisciplinary learning to his career, Pizzoli responded, “Picture books are a complete marriage of text and image. When they come together that’s when the magic happens … Having classes in those dual realms was good for me as an artist and for putting stories together.”

Interview

What made you decide to come to Millersville University?
I wanted to study English literature and had a friend who was in the program and spoke highly of it. I stayed with the program because of the variety of courses available and there were many professors whom I liked.

What was one of your biggest accomplishments during your time at Millersville?
I did a bunch of extracurricular activities. I had friends in the Art department; we organized guest lectures about Graphic Design and Illustration. I self-published a little chat book and screen printed the covers in the Art building. We had a lot of group Art shows, and I felt connected with the people there in making shows.

Were you involved in any on-campus student organizations?
As a student, I was involved in the campus Gay-Straight Alliance. I was also involved in several music groups.

As a creative writer/illustrator, how have the skills you learned at Millersville impacted your career?
The basic Design and Drawing classes that I took helped. I think about those skills all the time when I’m designing a new book. As a teacher at the University of Arts in Philadelphia, I have used a lot of the projects that I did as an undergraduate student in my classes. Writing is one of those things that has to be done a lot before you get good at it. The self-published books from Millersville and the support of the faculty got me in the mode to write and illustrate the children’s books I do now.

How have you applied interdisciplinary learning to your career?
Picture books are a complete marriage of text and image. When they come together that’s when the magic happens. I was definitely feeling the tug of being interested in Visual Art which is why I thought about switching to it but I ended up doing those classes with English. Having classes in those dual realms was good for me as an artist and for putting stories together.

Overall, how did Millersville get you to where you are today?
I found a particular tribe of people there with whom I have stayed friends; three of my best friends are from Millersville. Ten years later we still go camping together every year. We built those friendships at school while organizing art shows. Finding that community has been super important for me. Also, I took a course called Contemporary Scottish Fiction that really shaped my writing.

Why should students come to Millersville to study English or Art & Design?
The professors are great and the department is fairly small, which is great since you can overlap with people from class to class.