ASo I'm pretty new to cake decorating, been doing it as a hobby but am now thinking about taking it more serious!! So I've been doing lots of research and getting all my equipment together, however I have always used fondant as it's so easily available but from my research I have seen that a lot of people also use modelling chocolate or gum paste!! For a start I don't even know what gum paste is?? So what would you all recommend..and what are the pros and cons of each?? Should I keep working with fondant?? Help please :)
I would suggest searching Google, Youtube etc. - or taking the time to search through the vast resource that is Cake Central. My bet is you'll have all your questions answered ;-)
Gumpaste is an elastic sugar dough, that can be rolled really thin and dries super hard, this is why people chose this paste to model flowers for example, or bows. You can find recipes to make your own in several books, or Youtube, or even Nicolas Lodge has one on Craftsy.
You can mix half fondant and half gumpaste to make a thicker fondant, making a nice modeling paste, for small figurines. Keep in mind they usually turn rather heavy to put on top of a cake, so keep your cakes sturdy, or use Styrofoam balls for example for heads or other parts of the body. You can also add some tylose or CMC powder (tiny tiny bit) to a piece of fondant and make it harder to model figurines, it will also help in the drying process.
Modeling Chocolate is another medium to model figurines that tastes a lot better than fondant (I don't mind either flavor tbh), some decorators use it even for roses! It can be dark, milk or white chocolate, white can be dyed using oil based colours.
Always remember when modeling, to keep the pastes you're not using wrapped in plastic and safe from air, so they don't dry. You can also keep a little bit of vegetable shortening handy if you feel they're a bit dry, or sticking to your palms. Happy modeling :)