Tutorial: How to find good roots?

by Roman aka jar

Hello fellow miniature painters,

before this article can be read by you I have to say three things.
First one: Don't forget to check if you won the BeesPutty.
Second one: This afternoon the winners of the Stamp it!-Quest will be announced.
Third one: Please be a little more patient with the big step by step of "the Nightwatch".


Now it is time to head for another little article MV's year of the painter brings to you, without voting for it. During the last painting class and in several mails I got asked lately:

"Roman, where and how do you find such cool roots for miniature basing?"

First of all let me say it is a cool thing to use roots from nature for your basing.
All you got to know about the use of wood from the forest for basing
can be found in this article.

Now let's have a look on where to look for such roots without having to push and pull out trees.
Important is that you go outside - not only out to your front door (but sometimes you can be lucky there too) - and use your eyes. Don't give up to easily if it takes more than five minutes to collect stuff you might need. Go with patience and joy. While my girlfriend and I were enjoying last Sunday on our bikes  I found a good spot. Let me tell you about it.

Many people think lazy (no aussault included here at all), I do too sometimes. They think: "I need some roots, lets go to the closest tree and I will find some!" ... and yes you might find some, but often not the ones you are looking for. For our miniature hobby we need small, thin and superfine ones to ensure they fit to the scale of the project.

As I planned to find some you can say I was on the hunt and prepared myself with a plastic bag inside my bagpack for the case I'd find some. I saw some chopped trees and did not find any roots here, but I tried ...

Wrong place to search...
This is the wrong place too, I don't want to destroy such a beauty place ...

After riding the bike a little longer I found a spot that caught my attention. Some tree stumps and trees that fell off and ripped out much of the groundwork. It was time to take out the plastic bag and do a little break :)

Yay, that is what I was looking for ...

Having a closer look on that discovery it was clear this will take me a little while to fill up my plastic bag. Roots are pretty rare at the moment in our studio and it would be a good thing to fill up our supplies. I was also thinking about the next painting class ahead so the bag filled up close to its burst.

Another tip if you are out on the hunt for such delicate roots: Bring a forceps! You might encounter one particular root that you would like to have, but it is too strong connected to a bigger one or whatever. It just helps to be prepared. Make sure you can close your plastic bag properly before you put it back in your backbag, already a cable strap can help here.

Important is that you dry those roots, after taking them home. Wood changes its shape, when it dries - it shrinks and you won't that to happen if your colour is already on top of it. Your paintwork might be damaged. Also it is not a good idea to use superglue on wood that is wet (the same with soil). The amount of water and superglue will react together and an ugly smell will fill your nostrils around your workspace. That is definatly not healthy. If something like this is happening to you, do not breathe it away, rather leave the room for a while and open your window.

Weisern shows the option on how you can dry the roots in your oven.
Thanks for the add, Weisern!

We answered the "where" but what about the "how"?
Well, the "how" is not that hard to answer. Just keep your eyes open to your sorroundings. Open yourself to the thought of collecting stuff that you find on the street, in the forest or on another situation. Collect. You might be interested in the following article too:

and Storage solutions.

Good luck on your hunt then!
Have fun outside and enjoy Spring and Summer, keep your eyes open to see what there is to see and find ...

Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes


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