Hi, I hope this is the right forum to post this...
Ok, just as a bit of backstory, I used to practice drawing a few years ago, but ended up finding it stressed me out too much (at not being good enough) so I gave up for the time being. My goal was to be able to draw well straight from my head, which I could never really do, though I got pretty good at drawing from observation. Anyway, I've been wanting to take it up again, but I'd like some advice.
I know that the best way to improve is drawing from life, but to be able to draw things accurately I had to draw extremely slowly, and pay very close attention to just drawing in each contour and line of whatever I was looking at. When I do that I get the best results, but it feels like because I'm focusing on that so much I'm not really taking in the actual form of the object (memorising what it's like in 3d, if that makes sense?) I'm just looking abstractly at the lines and copying them down. So for that reason I'm not sure if it's really helping me that much in being able to draw from imagination.
And if I would try and do quick sketches to capture the idea of the dimensions of whatever was in front of me, it would normally end up innaccurate and messy, so doing the opposite doesn't seem to help either.
Plus, even when I could draw, let's say, a realistic person, as soon as I would try and draw things around them, perspective and everything else would be off. So I guess my question is, how should I go about trying to improve? Where should I start? Should I try and think consciously about what I'm drawing when I do observational pictures, or just let myself get in 'the zone'? Any thoughts would be really appreciated!