Do you remember your childhood days watching Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Donald or imitating the fight between Prince John’s soldiers and Robin Hood’s army? These cartoons had been an important part of our childhood. The Animated world, in one way or another, has made our childhood more beautiful and memorable. But these are not real-life heroes, rather, are a result of the mere imagination of the creators. Among these creators, Floyd E. Norman is the one renowned the most. 

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Floyd E. Norman_©149461325.v2.pressablecdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Floyd-Norman-Headshot.jpg

Floyd Norman is an artist and an animator. He is associated with the Disney studios and has been working in the field of animations for the past 65+ years. He was born on 2 June 1935,  in Santa Barbara California. Norman grew interested in the particular field from his childhood when he watched his first Disney movie, Dumbo in 1941. But only after watching another Disney movie, Bambi did Norman make up his mind to go for animations as a career further in life.

Thus, these incidents made Norman work towards improving his skills as required for an animator. Soon, after High school, Norman took his compiled work to the Disney studio to seek a job opportunity but was advised to get admitted to an art school for further studies. Normans did as told and got admission to Art centre college of design in Pasadena in 1956. Norman was sure enough about his interest in animations, and he did not want to lose any chance to get a job at his dream place. And from college, only Norman started working to enhance his skills as an animator. For a start, Norman worked as an assistant to comic book artist – Bill Waggon who lived in Santa Barbara, California, the same place where Norman grew up.  

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Norman in his younger days _©www.google.com

At last, Norman got his wish fulfilled as he was called into Disney studio during his third-year college to work as an animator in one of their projects, Sleeping Beauty. Thus, Norman, being overwhelmed with this opportunity, decided to drop out of college to work in his dream job in Disney Studios. There Norman assisted FrankThomas in working on Fairies: Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. But, soon his tenure ended when the film wrapped up, and Norman had already dropped out of school. This led Norman to go for the army as an alternative, which turned out to be a not-so-good experience for him. After serving in the Army in the Korean Conflict, Norman decided to get back to Disney in 1960 and work in it. He got a head start with one hundred and one Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, and The Jungle Book.

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All works done by Floyd Norman_©www.google.com

These movies are still one of the best works of Disney animations, and Norman had been an active part of them. He was responsible for many scenes included in the “Trust In Me” sequence of the jungle book movie. These works made Norman recognizable for his work and dedication to the field of animation. After the death of legendary Walt Disney, Norman founded Vignette films Inc. for making animated movies. Norman also co-founded afro kids animation studio with his business partner Leo Sullivan. During this time Norman worked on various projects including – Hey! Hey! HeY!, based on fat Albert’s monologue, which aired in 1969 on NBC. 

But Norman never forgot his way back home as in the 1970’s he came back to Disney and worked with many of its projects including Robin hood. Along with this, Norman also kept working with other animation companies that made various television programs like – Hanna-Barbera, Film Roman, Ruby-spears, etc. Other than these his works with Disney include – The hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Dinosaur, and Toy Story. 

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Norman with the characters of Monsters Inc._©i.ytimg.com/vi/18bGi9gGRS8/maxresdefault.jpg

Gradually with time, Norman started being revered amidst his working staff in Disney studio as well as other places too. Thus, in 1980,  Norman got a chance to work as a writer in the comic strip department of Disney Studio. He was the last scripter of the Mickey Mouse comic strip. This further increased the position of Norman in the world of animations, which currently is at a point where he is regarded highly for his work and his dedication to this particular domain. 

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Comic strip by Floyd Norman_©thedisneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/first-mickey-mouse-comic.png

For his relentless dedication and work in the field of animation, Norman has received many awards in nearly 60 years of work in this particular field. Norman has received Inkpot Award from comic con International in 2008, the Sergio award from the comic art professional society in 2013. But all his real hard work paid off when he received the Year’s Disney Legend award on 10th October 2007. Norman soon became a live example portraying how dedication can carry a man towards his goal in life. As an artist and an animator, Norman has surely laid footprints on the sands of time. 

Among the colleagues who worked with Walt Disney, Norman’s creative process was started to be termed “Floydering”. Norman has been a live example and an inspiration for young animators and artists all over the world. He has shown how as an artist, one can have a divergent approach and can explore many other aspects of his career as he did. These outstanding qualities of Norman were the ones that made him be regarded as a Disney Legend. His works and his ideologies will surely inspire generations to come. 

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References: 

  1. https://disney.fandom.com/wiki/Floyd_Norman
  2. https://d23.com/walt-disney-legend/floyd-norman/
  3. https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/norman-floyd-e-1935/#:~:text=Norman%20was%20born%20on%20June,Disney%20film%20Dumbo%20in%201941.
  4. https://societyillustrators.org/award-winners/floyd-norman/
Author

Sameeksha, currently pursuing her architecture degree, is also inclined towards writing and pouring out her thoughts. Being an writing enthusiast as well as an architecture student, she constantly tries to grab every opportunity for writing and express her views for the built environment.

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