Ingold: What is the Difference Between Writing and Drawing?

In the Ingold article for today Mr. Ingold discusses the four different ways that he believes writing and drawing are different. First, he says that writing is a notation but drawing is not. Secondly, he believes that drawing is an art but writing is not. Thirdly, writing is a technology and drawing is not. Lastly, writing is linear while drawing is not. These are his four main distinctions but he does take the time to let us know that none of these are absolute and there could be some instances in which certain aspects of his distinctions could be included or not. For this blog post I am going to focus on one of the first sections that he writes about which is the drawing letters section and the writing as drawing sections because I found them pretty interesting. In the drawing letters section Ingold looks at what it takes for a drawn line to be a part of a notation, because all letters at their core are just drawings. Ingold brings up a Russian psychologist named Vygotsky and how he and Vygotsky agree that the difference between drawing lines and writing is the ability of the person or thing writing to also be able to read what it is writing. Ingold had an example with a Winnie the Pooh character who had learned to write the letter A. The character had no idea what that letter meant in the larger scale of the alphabet or writing in general but it was able to create the letter, Ingold presented this as a case of drawing. Eeyore was drawing the letter because he had no ability to read the letter or use it to a greater extent. This is also the case with children learning the alphabet in school. He says that when children first start out they are merely drawing but as time goes on and they learn the basics of reading and writing it transforms from drawing to writing.

As I was reading through the writing as drawing section Ingold makes it clear that writing is always drawing but that writing is a special instance in which the drawing belong to a larger thing. Much like the individual parts of a larger drawing are still drawings it just happens that when you are drawing letters the larger piece you are composing is not classified as a drawing it becomes notation, as Ingold calls it. As Ingold mentioned, this isn’t always clear cut and below I have an example of just basic graphic design typography. For this example I would definitely say it is more of a drawing then an example of writing. Again this has to do with interpretation but I feel that the effort and style of the words being written go above and beyond being just basic words, but I do also understand that Ingold was probably talking more about everyday general writing.


My question is this: can written words and sentences be seen as art first and foremost, like I believe the typography above should, or should words always be considered writing first?


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