Here's another exercise that will show you that you can draw forms and shapes and not just symbols.
Take a blank sheet of typing or printer paper and crunch it up
in a ball in your hand. Now open it up again, but don't smooth
it out. Open it enough so it'll lay relativly flat on your
desk. Now, tape
or clip a few pieces of paper to your board and TURN AWAY from the
wrinkled paper so you can't see it. Turn only your head so you can see the
wrinkled paper, but are no longer looking at your drawing board. Now, look intently at the
creases and dents and wrinkles in the wrinkled paper, and draw them
WITHOUT LOOKING AT YOUR DRAWING PAPER.
Outline each fold with your eyes and mirror that fold's
outline with your pencil on the drawing. Try and gauge the
spaces between the folds mentally and move your drawing hand
to where you think the next fold or shape goes. DO NOT LOOK AT THE PROGRESS OF THE DRAWING - KEEP DRAWING!!
If you feel your drawing hand fall off your paper, just pick it
up and drop it back on the paper without looking at where
you've placed your hand. Draw every wrinkle and shape you see in
the cloth, and draw for five minutes.
When you're done go ahead and look at the drawing. Looks like crap, right? There's no meaning to the composition and it looks nothing like the
wrinkled paper. But look closer, compare it again with the
paper. Find a line in the drawing and then find the corresponding
wrinkle in the cloth. You found it, didn't you? As you look at the drawing you can find every
wrinkle from the paper. This shows you that you CAN draw what you see, you didn't draw your
"paper symbol". In this exercise the final product isn't the reason for the exercise, the process of seeing and drawing the
wrinkless as you see them is the object. Here, as in the first exercise, you probably were not thinking about what it was you were REALLY drawing, rather you saw the
individual shapes and forms that make up the whole.