Use the right grip
Think of the pencil as charcoal in a wooden sheath
The first step is to master how to hold a pencil correctly. Professionals recommend holding the pencil like you could a piece of charcoal, and using the side of the lead to draw, rather than the point. This helps keep the pencil sharper for longer.
When covering large areas, shade with the pencil perpendicular to the line to get wide, soft lines. For details, hold the pencil parallel to lines to get sharp, narrow marks.