Sculpting “Lady Peppy,” Part 1 – A Shih Tzu Dressed Like a Character from Downton Abbey

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My stepmother's Shih Tzu, Peppy
My stepmother’s Shih Tzu, Peppy

The real Peppy would never allow me to dress her in a hat and fancy blouse like Lady Edith from Downton Abbey…

…but I don’t think she’ll mind if we use her for a model. When the sculpture done she may be a tough critic, though… πŸ™‚

This is the first video in a three-part series. You can find the second video here. and the third video here.

In the video above, I started the portrait of Peppy using my sculpting form, and altered it quite a lot to make the skull look more like a Shih Tzu. (This project was one of the ideas that inspired me to add the neck and shoulders to the face-sculpting form. The other project, not yet started, is Pan.)

Then I sculpted Peppy’s face with foil, and used Magic Sculpt for the only parts of her face that will actually show after she gets her fur and clothes.

Finally, I covered her with paper mache clay, and she’s now drying in front of a furnace vent.

In the next post, I’ll use the crochet thread that was left over from making the mane on the horse, and give Peppy those crazy eyebrows, a mustache, and lots of fur. Then it will be time to dress her up like Lady Edith.

Or should she get her clothes first, and then her fur? I haven’t decided yet. πŸ™‚

Links mentioned in the video:

Be sure to watch for the next post, when Peppy gets her fur and clothes.

The Steps for Sculpting Peppy the Shih Tzu, Part 1:

Altering the sculpting form for a shih tzu

1. I printed out the pattern for the sculpting form, and removed the section around the eyes and nose. You could skip the sculpting form if you want to sculpt your Shih Tzu portrait with just foil.

2. I added foil to the inside of the form because it doesn’t hold up well after you remove some of the pattern pieces.

3. Then I pushed down on the top of the scull to make the skull much shorter. I used lots of masking tape to put it back together.

Cuttiong the neck of the sculpting form

4. I cut the form along the bottom of the skull, all the way around.

Putting the head back on.

5. I put the head back on at a slant. It now looks very close to the Shih Tzu drawing I made after looking at the Shih Tzu website, shown below.

shih tzu sketch
I sculpted the forms with foil and two foam balls

6. I sculpted the forms with foil and two foam balls. Then I mixed up a small amount of the Magic Sculpt for the eyes, nose and mouth.

Sculpting the features with Magic Sculpt

7. I added a little water to the Magic Sculpt so I could make it very thin, and then sculpted the features, including Peppy’s lower teeth. These are the only features that will show after all the fur is added.

Adding more cardboard to the bottom of the sculpting form

8. I added about and inch of cardboard to the bottom of the form to help make the sculpture look more balanced. The small bag of sand used to weight the sculpture was put back inside.

Moving the head again

9. I cut the head off again, and moved it further back. This puts the back of the jaw line in the right place, and the muzzle is no longer pushed too far forward.

The extra depth at the back of the sculpting form will be used for Lady Peppy’s new had.

Adding ears to the shih tzu sculpture

10. I added the ears.

Adding paper mache to the shih tzu sculpture

11. I used a knife to add paper mache clay to the entire form, except for the parts of the Magic Sculpt features that will not have any fur attached.

She now looks like the photo below, and will get her black fur and clothes when the paper mache clay is dry. Be sure to watch for that post so you can see how she turns out. πŸ™‚

Peppy the Shih Tzu without fur

4 thoughts on “Sculpting “Lady Peppy,” Part 1 – A Shih Tzu Dressed Like a Character from Downton Abbey”

  1. So will Peppy have real clothes or paper mache clothes? Are you using the same hat you showed in the video? You can stiffen the fabric with a glue and water mixture if need be. I think you’de better put the clothes on before the fur as the fur may get in the way of properly putting the clothes on but it would be ok if some fur escaped over the collar.
    Very interesting project, sort of like Melanie Bourlon or is it Bourbon?(That paper mache artist from France) Why lady Edith? A favorite character? Lady Mary was much more elegant, even better, how about Maggie Smith’s character. She wore great hats! Fun project. Will it be going to stepmom when done?

    Reply
    • Hi Eileen. I can’t sew well enough to make real clothes, so they’ll be sculpted. Lady Edith has curly hair that looks more like Peppy’s ear fur – although she’s blonde. Maggie Smith’s character did wear fantastic hats – but I don’t think I want to get quite that carried away. πŸ™‚

      I’ll offer the sculpture to Dianne, my stepmother, but she’s trying to get rid of some of the stuff she’s accumulated over the years (like at least 50 tiny ceramic dogs). She might prefer to just look at the sculpture online. πŸ™‚

      Reply
      • I just had a thought…have you ever tried paverpol or powertex? That could be your answer to the clothes. No sewing, just draping. Its a bit pricey but the effect is pretty cool. (I know you like to try new things!)

        Reply
        • I haven’t tried them yet, but it’s too late now. I added the ruffles and shirt collar with plaster cloth. Not perfect, but it will do. If I ever do another project like this, I might have to splurge on some new art supplies. πŸ™‚

          Reply

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