It’s strangely quiet in this pleasant San Diego patio. The sound of a fountain gurgles nearby and the area is surprisingly vacant with the exception of a few birds pecking away at the stone tiles. A few of the business nearby have opened their doors and two attractive young women wearing shorts greet each other as their business day is about to begin. It’s almost difficult to imagine what is going on outside this peaceful space. Just outside, the San Diego Comic Book Convention is already ramping up for day number two. Traffic begins to thicken on the city streets and the sidewalks are already filled with kids on their way to the show. However, this peaceful space remains undisturbed by the chaos outside and one would hardly know the craziness going on a few feet away.

As much as I love the San Diego ComicCon I find it important to get away on occasion. After fighting the crowds early this morning, I’ve already headed away from the convention center and the hotel. There’s a need to stop and decompress after dealing with the general chaos. Although I love the energy and general madness of this annual convention, it’s wise to occasionally take a step back and take a moment to relax in a quiet space. As one who’s attended this crazy event since the early days of the El Cortez Hotel, you learn you’ve got to take the San Diego Con in small doses. If not, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed, and I think that’s what turned off so many people over the past few years. The San Diego ComicCon has clearly grown to a massive size and if you’re going to survive this annual media fest it’s wise to have a strategy. Don’t think of the con as a large meal because you’ll only get indigestion. There’s simply way too much to consume. I view the San Diego ComicCon as my snack bar - and I only take what’s needed.

It’s another beautiful day in San Diego and I’m enjoying every minute of it. Sometimes we get so caught up in the comic media madness we forget there’s a good deal more to enjoy in this wonderful city. It might be wise to put down that comic book for a moment and look around the city and the beautiful marina. There’s an ocean and a beautiful blue sky just a few feet away and it’s not even a special effect. I’ll be heading back to the convention center sometime today. However, for now - I’m taking my time.

I'm in San Diego and I've found a quiet space early this morning.

I'm in San Diego and I've found a quiet space early this morning.

Posted
AuthorFloyd Norman

Did you know I once considered a job in Disney’s layout department? Yes, it’s true. Veteran layout artist, Joe Hale tried to talk me into joining Walt Disney Studios layout department back in the sixties. While I truly admire and respect the incredible work done by Disney’s premiere layout artists, I don’t think it would have been a good fit for this particular artist.

I remember seeing these beautiful layouts from Walt Disney’s classic films when I was a kid eager to become an animation professional. I would spend hours in the Santa Barbara library pouring over all the books I could find on Disney animated films. One of the things I especially admired was the animation layouts, especially the work done in the Disney films, Bambi, Sleeping Beauty and so many others. Because of todays technology, we can now enlarge these images for greater study. These beautiful backgrounds were created from inspired layout sketches created by the Disney layout artists and you’ve got to admit the work is incredible. Of course, it’s not just feature films that impress me. The layouts created for the Disney short films are no less impressive. I honestly don’t regret not getting into the layout department. While I admire the Disney veterans and continue to study the work of veterans such as Ernie Nordi, Don Griffith, Joe Hale, Mac Stewart, Jack Huber and Homer Jonas it’s a job best left for the artists with those special skills.

Back in 1966, I toyed with the idea of becoming a Disney layout artist but it simply didn’t work out. It appears there was a reason for this turn of events and it was a good one. I eventually found a home in the story department of Walt Disney Productions and it was a job I never even considered. However, this decision to move from animation to story was decided by a man who was a good deal wiser than myself, and for that I’m forever grateful.

Inspired sketches created by the Disney layout artists. It was a job I once considered.

Inspired sketches created by the Disney layout artists. It was a job I once considered.

Posted
AuthorFloyd Norman

I usually try to post daily but this has been a busy week. I thought I might get in some early morning writing but that time was spent preparing for our short trip south to San Diego. Having arrived in San Diego and braved the early lines of ComicCon check in, I can finally settle back and post something on my neglected blog.

As expected, the weather here in San Diego is awesome. Neither too hot or cold, but simply just right. After settling in our hotel we decided to take a brief walk to check out the area. I'm always delighted by what a beautiful city San Diego happens to be. No wonder it's difficult to leave once the ComicCon comes to a close. However, for now it's time to take a break. We've already seen a few old friends and I'm sure we'll be seeing more as the Con ramps up. I'll be back on stage this Saturday with my old pals, Sergio Aragonés and Scott Shaw! We'll be matching wits and Sharpies as we go toe to toe in the famous event known as, "QuickDraw." If you happen to be in the area and you're one of the lucky few to have a pass to the San Diego ComicCon, please stop in and join the fun.

For now, I'm going to settle back and simply enjoy the beautiful weather and the awesome San Diego vista. It's my home away from home, and we simply love coming here every year. Yeah, I've heard the complaints about the crowds and the general madness of this annual event. However, in order to enjoy the Con you've got to go with the flow. Mellow out and groove with the madness. It's not a science fair or a medical seminar - it's a comic book convention.

A view from our hotel in San Diego. It's a beautiful July day in Southern California and I wouldn't want to be anyplace else.

A view from our hotel in San Diego. It's a beautiful July day in Southern California and I wouldn't want to be anyplace else.

Posted
AuthorFloyd Norman