the man behind donald from skye

I’m 46 now, time does fly especially after 30. I’ve worked since I was 14, my first job being a chimney sweep on Saturdays whilst still at school, my dad drove me to the jobs and got his hands dirty too, well it wasn’t hard in that job. It was great. I loved it. Working for myself. Dad wasn’t a hard boss by any means and let me make the decisions. “Right Dad, I’ll go up the ladder, it’s too dangerous for you.” Yes, the Health and Safety wasn’t so stringent in 1986.

Miraculously I managed to survive without one bit of paperwork stating the “operational hazards”. I think common sense played a big part in that. You’ve either got it or you ain’t kind of thing and if you ain’t, then I’m afraid you are likely to end up dead whilst cleaning chimneys. It made me a “survivalist” and gave me this tough mentality. I was scared of heights for Petes sake. I never admitted this in front of dad. No way. He thought I was fearless so I was going to keep up this facade. Even if it killed me. No way does a kid want to let his dad down. It just doesn’t happen.

calum dfs

I was always into technology but the tech wasn’t up to much when I was younger so I drifted aimlessly for a few years after leaving school not knowing what to do with myself. Windows95 changed all that and made computing available for the masses for the very first time. Windows95 changed the course of my life. Pretty ironic considering how rubbish an operating system it was but at least it was an operating system

The idea for Donald from Skye came from a drawing that my 6 year old niece (at the time) did. It was hanging in the kitchen wall for years and I called the drawing “The Pinkies”. The drawing was of her, her 2 brothers and her sister and I thought it was great because it made me laugh. I could see this family she had drawn on TV, they were Simpson like in a way. So one day in early November 2017 and after there being big problems in the press about Skye all summer, whilst looking at her picture, I came up with the idea of a tourist Mascot for the Isle of Skye and how he was going to try and resolve some of the issues the island was facing. And my now 11 year old niece would draw him.

The original idea was to create a soft toy and sell this toy in local shops with the goal of turning him into a TV/website character. So this is what we did. She drew Donald from my ideas of what features he would have, what he would wear and how he would roughly look. What took off from that drawing in my mind even took me by surprise and the current creation all stemmed from there. As it progressed, more ideas were coming to me with the direction he should be taking and the idea of 3D animation mixed with real footage was an early part of the vision. So when the soft toy turned up, we were all a bit deflated. It just wasn’t cutting the mustard. That then put the focus on turning Donald into a 3D character which is what we have now. I don’t know how many hours I’ve put into it, lost count a long time ago but it’s taken 1 year to produce from concept to launch.

I would personally like to thank a few people who all brought this together namely Sadie MacDonald, David Mattock, Christian Chodecki, Richard Czechy, Graeme Duncan, Gilleasbuig Ferguson (Donald), Rory MacKenzie (Fergie), Iain Copeland, Karen Ferguson

calum behind donald