Norman Drew was born in Kenora, Ontario. He is a graduate of both the fine and applied arts courses of the University of Alberta. He began his art and film career in 1963, when he joined Crawley Films in Ottawa to work on the NBC feature cartoon 'Return to Oz'. He freelanced for the Toronto Telegram Syndicate as the second artist of the syndicated feature 'The Giants' from 1964 to 1967. This series of comic strip biographies of world-famous figures of science, sports, the arts, and politics was written by Walt McDayter and subsequently drawn by Bill Payne and Bob McCormick.
Drew moved on and joined T.VC. in London, England, where he worked on The Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine' film. Other well-known features he worked on are 'The Jackson Five' and 'The Osmond Brothers' for ABC TV. Drew returned to Canada in 1972, where he was creative director of a Toronto animation studio. In 1974 he opened his Vancouver-based own studio, Norm Drew Productions, and since then has done films for 'Sesame Street', TV commercials and the animated titles for 'The Irish Rovers'.
In the 1970s he also created, produced, syndicated and distributed two of his own cartoon features for daily and weekly newspapers across Canada and turned one of these into an animated TV series. Between 1976 and 1978 he hosted his own Saturday morning children's show, 'Gastown Gang', on the BCTV network, featuring his animated cartoon series, illustrated stories and full size theme park type mascot costume characters of his daily comic strip, 'The Bush Babies'.
He was subsequently contracted by several major Hollywood animation studios to supervise production of top mainstream Saturday morning animated TV series from 1986 to 1998 in Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan and The Philippines. Interleaved with living and working in Asian countries each year, he launched and taught this Vancouver's first professional level animation and cartooning academic courses for The Vancouver School Board, The Vancouver Film School and VanArts Institute up to 2001.
In addition to those venues, Drew launched a Distance Learning tutorial service, The Academy of Classical Animation, coaching animation students worldwide. By 2014, he is writing and illustrating a graphic novel of his career as globetrotting cartoonist and animator.