A silhouette of a whale accompanied by a pulsed call appears before a charming, wide-eyed fox, only to disappear. Unable to get the sight out of his mind, the fox sets out on a journey. En route, he totters across starry skies, misty forests and the pristine sea-front as his quest for the elusive whale turns into a discovery of the marvels of the universe itself.

Robin Joseph’s engrossing 12-minute animation short Fox And The Whale asks the viewer to, like the fox, look at the universe with undefiled curiosity.

This is the first film by Joseph, who has worked as a production designer and concept artist for animated films such as Despicable Me, Penguins of Madagascar and Mr Peabody & Sherman.

“The inspiration for Fox and the Whale was the pursuit of curiosity,” Joseph told Variety. “Not so much a primal curiosity behind food, shelter, or even play. It was more about the grey areas and often abstract pursuits. The drive of wanting to know what lies beyond the abyss.”

The blend of computer and hand-drawn animation was done by Joseph’s partner, Kim Leow and the sound design was created with the help of the award-winning Tim Nielsen.