I don't understand how it's possible to 'draw what you see and not what you know' as you say. I already see it, and I have to know what I'm looking at in order to draw it, so how will magically seeing it in a new way make me able to draw it?
That’s just it, though. You want to draw without knowing what you’re looking at.
Our brains are very good at simplifying and compartmentalizing what we see. It’s for survival—we have to be able to judge things very quickly to protect ourselves, so our brains are always seeking out patterns and combinations to recognize.
So if we look at a face, for example, we might see a lot of shapes and lines and different colors, all very subtle and unique to every person, but our brains will simplify everything, so where once you had shapes and lines, now you have “eyes” and “mouth.”
You’ve gone from seeing to knowing. If you ask a group of people to draw an eye, you’ll get the same generic drawing from every person—an oval, a circle, another circle, and eyelashes—because everyone knows what an eye looks like.
But in art, you have to undo that and go back to seeing shapes and lines again.
Blind contour drawing is one way. If you cover up your paper so you can’t see what you’re drawing, then you’re forced to pay attention to all those shapes and lines again.
You can also try drawing something unfamiliar that your brain hasn’t been able to simplify yet.
Like an organic pattern:
Or an upside-down face:
The less you know about what you’re drawing and the more unfamiliar it is, the better you’ll see shapes, lines, and the relationships between them for what they truly are.
It’s not magic at all. It’s removing bias and undoing what your brain is so very good at doing.