In education, the stage before writing is referred to as Pre-Writing, and it starts with drawing.
Initially the toddler will draw continuous scribbles, with whatever implement you give him and on any surface! (more about that later!). He will grasp the pencil by clutching it in the palm of his hand.
At some stage, the child will make ‘separated scribbles’ – this happens when the child scribbles, lifts the pencil, and then starts again elsewhere on the paper.
The next stage is when left to right scribbles are done in lines. (May be right to left)
Next, letter-like shapes are drawn, though far from ‘perfectly formed’.