First off, I'm a transfer student, a CA at that, and at my other school I had to take a few figure classes for my major(all of which were prerequisites to my animation classes). Prior to college, I spent a lot of time drawing the figure, mainly because I've been into character design since I was in elementary school.
I believe figure drawing is important because it directly relates to drawing with observation, a skill that's a must for any artist. You learn to add life and and movement to your work.
Anyway, I've included some of my work down below. The first two drawings are from a figure class at my old school.
Sepia Brush pen on copy paper
Conte' Crayon on tone paper.
The next set of drawings are all from my sketchbooks. I prefer drawing on smaller paper because a lot of times I chose ink to draw with. Sometimes I even use blue pencil for the underlying structure and then go over it with ink. My work tends to have a stylized feel to it, that's something I'm trying to work on. But, I enjoy drawing as many figures as possible which is why I love gesture day. All of these are from the days we drew gestures.
Blue Pencil with Ink
This last one is from my own personal sketchbook, and are studies from a book I picked up in the library. I prefer toned paper over white, especially with ink.
Sepia brush pen on recycled paper