After my drawing class ended, I dug out a copy of "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," a book that I had inherited from somebody but never opened. It's a method that supposedly helps you learn to draw perfectly, as soon as you can get your bad analytical left brain to go away and sulk while you draw. Then you can go into a zen state and copy exactly what you see. So simple!
This method obviously works for some people, especially those whose astonishingly good "student work" is shown off in the book. It hasn't worked yet for me. I do the preparatory exercises that are supposed to turn off the bad left brain but never come close to the moment when the mysterious zen/zap converts me to a drawer. Or if I have, it's the kind of drawer that has pencils and a whole lot of junk in it. I certainly haven't been converted to somebody who can suddenly draw realistically.
One of the exercises recommended in this book is to copy a photo or drawing by holding it upside down. That way the bad left brain doesn't get in the way and tell you "I know how to draw a face!!" when truth is, it doesn't. I did several of these drawings and enjoyed the process. Not being able to see exactly what you're making does help you concentrate on each particular bit of your picture rather than getting scared and distracted by the whole thing emerging under your pencil.
The book showed a drawing that Picasso had done of Stravinsky, which was presented upside down, the way Picasso wanted it shown. Of course, this being Picasso, he had to show off by not only showing it upside down but drawing it upside down in the first place. I copied it three times for my daily art, never managing to draw small enough to get the whole thing into my little sketchbook.
Bet you can't tell which ones I did and which one Picasso did. (I turned them all head-up so you can appreciate the likeness; all of them were drawn head-down.)
I copied some photos upside down, and then with Picasso still on my mind, I found one of his self-portrait paintings online, flipped it upside down on the screen and drew it. All of them turned out pretty good. But I'd have to do a lot more to discover whether and how copying photos helps you draw better from actual objects or models.
I'm not sure how much I love this book. Admittedly, I haven't spent a lot of time with it yet, especially since most of the exercises require live models and my dear husband, the only person regularly at my disposal, isn't very good at that task. And I can't say that I am wildly eager to tackle the project.
Maybe I'm wired a bit differently from the standard model, but I've never felt much disparity between the two sides of my brain. They've always seemed like equal partners, happily working together very well; I never felt that either side was slacking or deficient. So I'm not sure that getting my left brain to go home is really going to achieve much. I'll report back if I have more experience with this approach.