If you can find local figure-drawing sessions to attend, that’s a good start. Traditionally, figure drawing is done with a nude model to enable study of the human form. Clothing adds another degree of complexity and obscures the forms underneath. Drawing from a model with or without clothing is beneficial in different ways, though knowing what is underneath a garment is essential for understanding how it hangs or folds and why. By applying this knowledge, you can make your drawings more credible and grounded in reality. Seek out clothed or nude models based on your preferred area of study.
When no open session is available, hire a model yourself or ask a friend or relative to pose for you. People you know well are often more difficult to draw, as you can be harder on yourself if the likeness is not right. But if you’re interested in the appearance of your subject, you will be more enthusiastic about drawing them.
Much has been written elsewhere about human proportions, and, since the chief concern here is bringing life to your drawing, I’ll only touch on the basics of the subject. Observation will help you both to discover these fundamentals for yourself and to allow you to build upon them perpetually. For some, a structural underdrawing is helpful for planning a figure on the page and for maintaining good proportions. As mentioned before, it’s still possible to achieve this effect in ink with a dry brush, so don’t let the permanency of the medium scare you away.
Basic anatomy is important when drawing a figure. A good understanding of the structure of the body and how its muscles, bones, and fatty parts interweave can help make your drawings convincing. However, try not to get bogged down with the minutiae of memorizing countless bones and muscles, or of trying to include them all in every drawing. Excessive detail can drown out a good figure drawing. Fussing too much over anatomy is often the reason why drawings appear overworked. It’s helpful to remember the big structures and how they interlock with other body parts, and to allow time for further inspection of areas that you don’t understand.