Make some simple decorator's icing and practice, practice, practice. Use the back of a baking pan and pretend it is a cake to practice borders and flowers. When you are done scrape it off and use the same icing to do it again and again.
Practice is the key. Even skilled decorators lose their edge in certain areas if they do not do that skill often. Good luck to you!
Creating works of art every chance I get! And yes, I am licensed, permitted, inspected and insured! Check out my website!
I just joined this site too and know almost nothing about cake decorating, other than that I love it and am already addicted!
There are hundreds of tutorial in the "How Do I?" forum and "google" has become my best friend I spend half my time reading and the other half "playing" with gumpaste etc.
It is a real learning curve but sooooo much fun.
The best thing you can do is mess something up. That will teach you more than if it turns out perfectly the first time. Don't be afraid to try something you know nothing about. If you want to do it, just do it. I learned so much out of simple ignorance - - I didn't know something couldn't be done.
This is the best place in the world for inspiration and help. Just sing out if you need to know something - - these ladies - and gentlemen - are the best!
I second "jgifford" on everything (she? he?) said. And to amplify the "don't be afraid to try" part, as long as you're not doing anything that would give you a toxic or pathogenic cake, there probably isn't a single rule that you can't break, given a good enough reason.
e.g., "Always use a loose frosting or gel for writing"? Not if you have to do it on the side of the cake, in which case you want it so stiff that you have to really squeeze the piping bag hard. (Hmm. I wonder if anybody's ever figured out a way to use a caulking gun to pipe frosting).
One thing I found: the heels of a loaf of bread make a decent enough surface to test how a material is going to perform when piped onto an unfrosted cake (e.g., a pound cake); that's how I tested the extra-stiff buttercream cited in my example of breaking the rules.
Welcome to the zany world of caking! After CakeCentral, Your best site should be Youtube! Alan Tetreault, Tonedna, Mayen and Aine2 and who you'd want to start with. Then continue to explore!
Globalsugarart.com, Jesterscakesupply.com and Sugaredproductions and great sites you should visit....