Being the eternal beginner that I am, here is a beginner opinion on visual memory:
Has I draw more and more, I start to think that the reason why some young people have an head start in drawing is because they have a good visual memory and the ability to retain more information in their brain.
Especially when drawing people from life, that are constantly moving and changing angles, this skill is very important.
sourceDrawing an object involves looking at the object and then looking down upon the paper in order to record what is seen. Of course, whilst the artist is looking down, the subject matter in front is not longer being looked at. Drawing accurately means retaining what has been seen and transferring this information down onto the paper. But in many cases, a short term visual memory can interfere with the accuracy of the drawing.
There are times when I can retain some information of the subject I'm drawing. When this happens, I can visualize a portion of the subject in the paper and draw easily. For me, its an amazing feeling , and I'd like to feel like that the entire drawing.
I leave an example of this drawing. After I finished I was tired, burned out and my head hurts. I tried to copy as close has I could, but it took all the concentration I have.
I have to stress that it is a very difficult thing to do if you are starting out, at least for me, but it's trainable. And as QueenGwenevere said on the second page, it gets better with training.
It's a great feeling when you can visualize the information in the paper before you put any mark on it, and I'm very interested in this kind of visualization.
SourceThere are several other reasons why memory training is useful, for the landscape painter outside where things are constantly changing, a memory of the way it looked before is very useful. But the subtler and most important reason in my estimation is this. When you are working from life, you make an observation from nature, when you then look away from nature and look at your canvas or paper, you must recall what you just saw. The quality of the memory you formed a second or two before is extremely important. It is not so much that you will have forgotten what you saw, but the ability of your mind to store it in the first place. Imagine a recording made on fine studio recording equipment, a lot of good information is there. But if recording is done on poor quality equipment, the information is muddled, incomplete or unclear.
I will keep this quote for understanding purposes. But it's not meant to be read literally. It just expresses the idea that good visual memory is connected with the ability to copy something by drawing. If you have it and you're not trained, you can copy better than if you don't
SourceSince the dawn of human art-making, the divide has been clear: There are people who can effortlessly sketch an object's likeness, and people who struggle for hours just to get the angles and proportions right (by which point the picture is scarred by eraser marks, anyway). What separates the drawers from the drawer-nots?
If you draw by measuring this becomes easier, a good book is "Drawing Essentials". But I'm not discussing this method, even though its a good method, it falls short in drawing moving objects from life.
The good thing is:
"There are few human skills which don't improve with practice."
It would be cool to hear some ideas from you guys,