I'm uploading this because I often get comments around the various mediums I post to along the lines of "You're so talented" or "I wish I could do that" or "I could never make something like that."
I'm here to tell you you can. Talent has nothing to do with it (or I'd be stuffed).
I understand the feeling, because I look at those that excel at digital art and lament never being that good. But the fact is, if you put in the effort, eventually it will all click. Yes, some people are naturally inclined to be creative, but even they have to learn to hone their skills. For most of us, it's all in the practise.
I've been cake decorating for a little over two years. I'm entirely self-taught, so my learning process comes from making mistakes. I learn best by doing stuff wrong, and boy have I done a lot of stuff wrong. These photos show some of my first attempts at various things, and how much better they got the next time I tried it. I'll talk you through them.
Let me preface this by saying that I still have a world of things to learn and I've by no means perfected any of this. I'm showing progress rather than perfection.
1. On the left is the very first attempt at fondant. I made it myself, I used liquid food colouring, I dusted my work surface with icing sugar, I left it in the air too long... it was a disaster. I've not attempted another fondant rose until this weekend just gone. Learning how to control fondant makes all the difference.
2. First attempt at a cake pop. That's one ugly duckling. Realising the error and rectifying it the next time led the a much smoother finish.
3. This is perhaps being slightly unfair to myself as a lot of the drama I had with this cake came due to a natural disaster/extreme weather event on the east coast of Aus. The humidity soared and destroyed everything I tried to do. But those bees, the chocolate honeycomb, it was all pretty fail. In the last few months I feel I am finally getting to the point with fondant work where I understand it well enough and don't get stressed. I know what to do to avoid errors. The result was that this weekend I created the first batch of fondant bees that I was happy with. It took me 5 tries over the last 2 years.
4. My first piping attempt vs. my second. I'm still bad with piping due to little practise, but half the battle is in getting the consistency right. Learning to recognise that helps.
5. The first time I tried to cover a cake with fondant and my second try with fondant. Made all the same errors as in #1 This is a photo before I covered the horrific sides with biscuits to hide the mess. I didn't even bother photographing the other side of the cake, on which most of it isn't even covered with fondant. I'm still working on getting that perfect finish, but now I'm able to cover complex shapes with a relatively smooth finish and no seams.
6. And last but not least, my third try with fondant and first attempt at fondant figures. This was the last time I made this mistakes made in #1 and #5. Liquid food colouring made it so unworkable, you can see the sag of the hats. But you can also see how terrible and cracked even the uncoloured stuff is. Compare that with exactly two years later and the fondant figures I can make now are a lot more complex and have a much nicer finish.
So if this is a hobby you've just started, or want to start, and feel at all dejected, have a laugh at my early work and feel better. We all have giant fails from time to time (even the pros), but with every mistake comes a learning curve.