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The sea in motion, February 2022

Driftwood charcoal on Fabriano paper

© David Begley 2022

The Wexford Whale
Behind the scenes 

Scene from The Wexford Whale

Drawings driftwood charcoal on Fabriano paper

Animations and drawings © David Begley 2022

Music composed and recorded by Ruah Pearson

© Ruah Pearson 2022

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June 17 2022 Save the date!

The Wexford Whale will have its first Irish screening on Friday 17th of June at 3.30pm at Rosslare Harbour Beach Car Park as part of Rosslare Harbour Festival. Suitable for all ages. 
Admission free.


A selection of archival prints of David Begley's drawings from the film are now available  

Each print is signed by David and printed on Hahnemühle fine art 100% cotton rag paper.

Ruah Pearson's film score

Before creating the film’s evocative score, Ruah Pearson chose the cello as her key instrument due to parallels drawn between a large, low-pitched instrument and an enormous mammal with its deep calls. The soundtrack combines cello with ambient recordings of the sea, sea life, and recordings made at the Hintze Hall in London’s Natural History Museum as well as fantastic voice recordings from Scoil Mhuire N.S. pupils for the film’s crowd scene. 

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Ruah Pearson recording ambient crowd noise at 
Natural History Museum, London

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Ruah Pearson recording atmospheric sounds 

Ruah talks of her process in creating the score:

"My early research, before I had seen the finished animations, led to a cello arrangement of the ‘Hantoon’, a lament from the published collection Songs of The Wexford Coast which had been suggested to David by Andrea Doyle of the Rosslare Ancestry Project. There’s a strong link between the title of the song, referring to the wreck of a vessel the ‘Hantoon’ in 1881 and the Hantoon channel off Rosslare fort where the whale beached in 1891. 


For the next compositional phase of the project I worked in response to the visuals which David was sending me, scene by scene and the challenge was to strike the right tone for each point of the storyline - which is an emotional rollercoaster! Themes gradually emerged for different points, the first of which being our Wonder theme - a light, skipping idea used to portray the wonder of the ocean, being played over David’s animations of a swimming jellyfish and alongside it our first sighting of the majestic whale. A later Moonlit theme is heard at the poignant stage when the whale, stranded in the bay, has become weak and stopped her struggles. For this moment of acceptance and stillness I used a lyrical melody played in the lower cello register over slowly shifting chords."

May 2022

The Wexford Whale is on show at Amgueddfa Ceredigion (Ceredigion museum), Aberystwyth, Wales as part of Creative Connections across the Irish Sea exhibition until June 25 2022.


Scene from The Wexford Whale (without sound)

Drawings driftwood charcoal on Fabriano paper

Animations and drawings © David Begley 2022

April 2022


David is editing 'The Wexford Whale' and working with cellist Ruah Pearson on the film's score. The film will be approximately 12 minutes long including credits.



March 2022


David has completed his drawings for 'The Wexford Whale' and and has begun editing animated scenes.


24 frames - the same drawing adjusted 24 times and photographed after each change. Every aspect of the wave is altered slightly each time. This is a slow process – these 24 frames took 4 hours to draw and will create 2 - 3 seconds of animation. A short wave scene at the beginning of the film took one week to draw.

Driftwood charcoal on Fabriano paper

© David Begley 2022

February 2022


David is drawing final scenes for 'The Wexford Whale'. Drawings are made on one sheet of paper and adjusted hundreds of times. Each adjustment is photographed, uploaded to a timeline and colour corrected, edited, and played in sequence in order to create motion. By the nature of this process all drawings are destroyed as scenes evolve.

Short clip from work in progress 22.02.2022

They flensed the whale at Raven point and boiled its blubber on the Fort. We gagged at the stench of it, but no matter. Armstrong got his oil. Fourteen barrels of it and forty five gallons in each . . .


Driftwood charcoal on Fabriano

© David Begley 2022.


Photographing February 2022


When a drawing has been adjusted to create a new frame it's photographed. David is using LED studio lights as well as daylight. ISO 500 / f5.6, shutter speed varies with light and darkness of image. Photographs are often bracketed - underexposed / exposed. David uses a DLSR camera and camera remote to take his stills. The camera is fixed on a tripod. 


Jellyfish from 'The Wexford Whale' animation

Driftwood charcoal on Fabriano paper

© David Begley 2022

This image is available as an archival print, signed and numbered

by David Begley. Edition of ten only. Purchase here

Drawing a single frame of the whale, February 2022

© David Begley 2022

Storm scene from The Wexford Whale (first edit, February 2022)

Drawings made in driftwood charcoal by 5th and 6th class pupils of 
Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare, County Wexford. 

Foleys performed and recorded by 5th and 6th class, Scoil Mhuire.


Work in progress January 2022


David continues to draw scenes for 'The Wexford Whale'. 

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Work in progress December 2021


David Begley is currently drawing scenes for 'The Whale'.

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Twenty frames from 'The Whale' animation

Driftwood charcoal on Fabriano paper

© David Begley 2021



These images above are adjustments to the same charcoal drawing made on one sheet of Fabriano Tiepolo paper. Before being uploaded to a timeline they will be colour corrected. Each image is known as a frame. To create motion, images are placed in sequence on a timeline. To animate images we need at least 2 frames per second, and for smooth motion, 8 - 24 frames per second. The twenty images here when placed in a timeline and played will create approximately 1 - 3 seconds of animation.

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Drawing for 'The Whale' animation

Driftwood charcoal on Fabriano paper

© David Begley 2021


Drawing for 'The Whale' animation

Driftwood charcoal on Fabriano paper

© David Begley 2021

Fifth class pupils, Scoil Mhuire N.S., Rosslare, June 2021


5th class pupils and drawings for 'The Whale' animation


Pupil animating a drawing, Scoil Mhuire N.S., Rosslare, June 2021

Field trip to Moran's bay, Rosslare Harbour – in search of chanies and clay, March 2021
The clay found in the banks and cliffs in the harbour is malleable and can be fired.


Mr Lawlor, Scoil Mhuire N.S., Burrow Strand, Rosslare, May 2021


Pupil with drawing, Scoil Mhuire N.S., Rosslare, June 2021


Pupil working on a drawing, Scoil Mhuire N.S., Rosslare, May 2021

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The Wexford Whale is a 'Creative Connections Ports Past Present' project.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme.

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