I recently took Wilton courses 1 & 2 in cake decorating. We learned to decorate cakes using buttercream icing, royal icing, and colorflow.
Our first assignment was to bake a cake using a character pan and a star tip. I chose a purse because I wanted something with as few colors possible. This technique is easy, but it causes my hand to cramp.
Our second assignment was to learn how to make a shell border, write freehand, and pipe characters from icing. We had to make clowns. I'm not a fan of clowns so I wasn't thrilled about the assignment. Basically, the trunks, arms, and legs of the clowns were thickly piped frosting with no structural support. The heads were plastic picks.
The frosting was still wet when we left class and I had a pretty long drive home. I think I hit every pothole along the way and knew there was no way the two sitting clowns would still be upright.
When I got home we all had a good laugh because the sitting clowns had fallen down. They looked drunk. The third clown looked like he just didn't have the strength to climb to the top of the cake! I dubbed it my "Drunk Ass Clowns Cake" and everyone who sees it, loves it.
Our final class had us decorate a cake with basic buttercream roses. Making a good rose is quite a challenge, but I think I did OK.