So a couple of days ago I started a new (physical) sketchbook for just studies and "stuff that's meant to make your art better".. You know the stuff.
First thing I did was a skull study because I want to improve my ability to draw faces without reference. I used refs for the skull and that study went pretty well aside from a couple things (still got the 3/4 view to do though!).
So next up I thought, hey, doing some studies of Loomis and his head/face construction stuff will probably be pretty useful here. So I read through the method, I find it pretty genius, and then I go to construct some heads/faces in my sketchbook using his method and my drawing ability seems to disappear entirely. I've had similar experiences with other construction-based methods of drawing things without ref.. I just can't seem to do them right and it's kinda annoying because I feel like I have a massive gap between my referenced and non-referenced work, at least when it comes to drawing people.
It's like when I'm trying to use step by step "methods" I end up with my head in a totally non-artistic mode where I can barely draw right because I'm thinking about the method instead of being in my drawing mindset.
So I was wondering, has anyone else had any experience like this and does anybody have any advice on how to improve at drawing people and faces at least semi-realistically and to a decent standard without reference?