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This Vex’ahlia Cosplay Makes You Feel Like It’s Winter in Whitestone
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This Vex’ahlia Cosplay Makes You Feel Like It’s Winter in Whitestone

Critical Role is Geek & Sundry’s live Dungeons & Dragons show, featuring Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer and his troupe of fellow voice actors. Catch them every Thursday night at 7:00 PM PT on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel and on Alpha.

Cosplayer Jessica Henson may be a comparatively recent fan of Critical Role, but that doesn’t make her any less passionate. She channels her love of the show into elaborate, meticulous costumes in honor of her favorite member of Vox Machina: Vex’ahlia.

“I didn’t start watching until this past April, and I had no idea what the show was when I started,” Jessica says. “I had never watched or played Dungeons & Dragons before, but it was a happy accident because I had been looking to learn, and everyone does an incredible job of getting you hooked on the story and characters.”

Jessica has been cosplaying since 2015 when a friend invited her along to New York Comic Con. After watching about twenty episodes of Critical Role, Jessica was ready to start working on a costume of her favorite character.

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“I really fell for Vex as a character because playing a sassy ranger with a pet bear and tight grip on the purse strings is definitely something I would do,” she says. “Also, I had the “Where have I heard her voice before?” moment listening to Laura, and realized she voices Serana in Skyrim, who I was also planning on cosplaying at NYCC. So I figured why not have two Laura Bailey cosplays?”

She put a costume together and focused on little details while making it her own. “I ended up taking some artistic liberties,” Jessica says, “and making some of the items she carries more story accurate or like little Easter eggs–I gave her a Bag of Colding, the Hero’s Crest in her hair, added the “bear paw-ldron” for Trinket, and used my Elven Dagger from Serana. I think tweaking the little details helped make it my own cosplay.”

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As the first campaign came to a close at the end of 2017, Jessica decided to honor Vex again, this time re-creating the level 20 character portrait by official artist Kit Buss.

Take a look at the gallery below to see Jessica’s costumes.

Jessica wanted to have every piece look like the illustration, from the white dragonscale armor down to the color fade on the coat. “One of my goals with Kit Buss’s level 20 look was to get it as accurate as possible, so getting as much detail from the reference was important,” she says.

Putting together the costume starts with a sketch, and then looking at the materials she already has on hand. “I had been kind of thinking about doing the White Dragon Armor for Vex, but what really made me start planning for it was finding some white and silver faux-hide vinyl that looked just like white dragon hide. Then it’s all about using what you know and Googling what you don’t to piece it all together,” says Jessica.

For beginning cosplayers, she recommends not pressuring yourself to make everything by hand; re-use pieces or buy what you need from cosplay shops online. A dress form is a good investment as well. Above all, don’t be afraid to make it work in your own way.

“Everyone’s cosplays are a little different, and getting something to be 100% screen accurate can be daunting,” Jessica says, “so if you think that something else works better, or would be more practical, go for it. It’ll also help set your work apart from everyone else’s.”

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All Images: Jessica Henson

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