The Genesis of Line

by Nona Orbach


Toddlers first lines are formed by chance from a sensory-motor need. They notice and discover that their body movements can leave a mark in substances.


Video by Jasmin Berman
Image by Gili Benders

They try this magic countless times, with immense enjoyment. They then create deliberate lines and marks in their porridge that smears on the table, in the sand, and later on paper.

In the beginning, the marks can migrate to the walls and furniture as well. As they grow up, they notice how marks can also turn out to be a sign.


Images by Orly Cohen Shulman and Ruth Hillel

I have always felt magic in those moments when I could witness how the brain and body collaborate.

Observing my toddler daughters, and later my grandchildren, while engaged in learning/living – always felt wondrous and sacred.

These young pioneers are discovering the universe, and we are privileged to notice their journey.

It is a completely personal, intimate process for each child, at the same time, all humanity has experienced these moments for centuries.

We are fortunate to notice such miraculous moments.  

Slow down. Look closely. Listen deeply. Take Notice.


Upper image by Nizan Sedler


This is the second of many posts of the Grammar of Drawing, a project about the expressive language of drawing in a collaboration between Suzanne Axelsson, Nona Orbach and Roberta Pucci.

All the posts are translated in four languages:

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