When speech or writing is not literal, it is figurative, like when you say you have a ton of homework. You don't really have 2000 pounds of homework, do you? Also, when art depicts a figure from life it is figurative, like a figurative drawing of a dancer.
The adjective figurative comes from the Old French word figuratif, which means “metaphorical.” Any figure of speech — a statement or phrase not intended to be understood literally — is figurative. You say your hands are frozen, or you are so hungry you could eat a horse. That's being figurative. In art, figure means "human or animal form," so a figurative drawing might show horses running across a field.