Hi, Sn0wball. I haven't done much cake decorating in many years, but my first thought would be for you to investigate any of the Wilton books. If you have a Hobby Lobby or Michael's store near you, Wilton cake-making, decorating items and their books are sold there. Wilton is a respected name in the industry and I would imagine you might find the "basics" in one of their books. Best wishes in your search.
And, don't worry, more answers will come from folks who are more "in the know" than on the subject than I.
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!