Creator spotlight: Floyd E. Norman
Floyd Norman (born June 22, 1935) is an American animator, writer, and comic book artist. Over the course of his career, Norman has worked for a number of animation companies, among them Walt Disney Animation Studios, Hanna-Barbera Productions, Ruby-Spears, Film Roman and Pixar.
Norman had his start as an assistant to Katy Keene comic book artist Bill Woggon, who lived in the Santa Barbara, California area Norman grew up in. In 1956, Norman was employed as an inbetweener on Sleeping Beauty (released in 1959) at Walt Disney Productions, becoming the first African-American artist to remain at the studio on a long-term basis.
Following his work on Sleeping Beauty, Norman was drafted, and returned to the studio after his service in 1960 to work on One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) and The Sword in the Stone (1963). After Walt Disney saw some of the inter-office sketches Norman made to entertain his co-workers, he was reassigned to the story department, where he worked with Larry Clemons on the story for The Jungle Book.
After Walt Disney’s death in 1966, Floyd Norman left the Disney studio to co-found Vignette Films, Inc. with business partner animator/director Leo Sullivan. Vignette Films, Inc. produced six animated films and was one of the first companies to produce films on the subject of black history.
Norman and Sullivan worked together on various projects, including segments for Sesame Street and the original Hey, Hey, Hey, It’s Fat Albert television special conceived by Bill Cosby, which aired in 1969 on NBC.In 1972, a different Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids Saturday morning cartoon series was produced for CBS by Filmation Associates). In 1999, Norman and Sullivan created a multicultural internet site, afrokids.com, designed to present a variety of African-American images to children.
Norman was a recipient of the Winsor McCay Award for Recognition of lifetime or career contributions to the art of animation at the 2002 Annie Awards. Norman was named a Disney Legend in 2007.
In 2008, he appeared as Guest of Honor at Anthrocon 2008 and at Comic-Con International, where he was given an Inkpot Award. In 2013 Norman was honored with the “Sergio Award” from The Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS). (X)