1. Draw plenty of lines to start your drawings (or paintings). Degas was famously advised by his master Ingres to 'Draw lines young man, plenty of lines'.
Try either a thin stick of charcoal gently searching for the best flowing lines to describe the figure - or dilute oil paint doing something similar with a thin sable brush on a prepared canvas.
2. Work on a tinted surface - off white paper for pastels and a mid-tone ground on canvas for oil paint. This allows both lighter and darker colours to stand out, particularly when they are opaque (as chalk pastels, or thicker oil colours are).
3. Build up colours in broken layers - Degas' innovative use of chalk pastels was characterised by hatched/scribbled broken layers of colour. When he returned to oil paint he emulated the pastel style and layered his colours in a similar way - sometimes scraping down a wet layer into the weave of the canvas, allowing a second layer to be floated on top.
4. ...coming soon...