Dungeons & Dragons: How Ginny Di Brought Tasha to Life Through Cosplay

Dungeons & Dragons is finding new ways to promote its books, including hiring one of D&D's best known cosplayers. Earlier this week, Dungeons & Dragons revealed that they had worked with cosplayer Ginny Di to bring the title character of its upcoming title Tasha's Cauldron of Everything to life through a fantastic cosplay photoshoot. Tasha is a rather enigmatic character in D&D lore, a female archmage known by many names that has usually served as a behind-the-scenes antagonist and manipulator. However, the D&D team updated Tasha's personality and past to reflect her shifting allegiances and her "true neutral" alignment.

Ginny Di is one of the more recognizable faces in the Dungeons & Dragons cosplay scene, notably for her fantastic Critical Role cosplay and her detailed videos about her costume-making process. Still, she was surprised when Wizards of the Coast reached out to her about doing a sponsored Tasha's cosplay. "I don't actually know how they found me," Ginny Di said during a phone email with ComicBook.com. "They reached out to me over email that was basically like, 'We have an opportunity for you. Do you want to sign an NDA and hear about the opportunity?'" It was only afterwards that Ginny Di realized that several Wizards of the Coasts employees followed her on Twitter. "I've been doing D&D-themed content for almost three years now so I guess it shouldn't surprise me so much that people in the tabletop community have seen my work, but it still surprises me."

While Tasha is one of the bigger names in D&D lore, she hasn't appeared in much character art, which proved to be a challenge for Ginny Di as she made the costume. "There were really only two reference images for the dress that I was making," Di said. "One was the cover image and the other is a concept art piece. There were other general images of Tasha, but usually in different costuming." To make the costume work, Ginny had to take some creative licenses, adapting the costumes to make sense as a physical garment. "When some artists draw clothing, they might not realize that something that they're drawing is actually incredibly difficult or even potentially impossible to create in real life," Di noted, stating that this was often an issue when cosplaying animated characters.

Luckily, Di had some flexibility between the cover art and the concept art to choose elements that would better suit the costume she was making. "For instance, the cover image, the skirts are just a bunch of different layers and they're blowing in a breeze," Di noted. "So it's really hard to tell how many layers the artist was imagining and what order they're in. So the concept art, for me, was much more attractive when it came to the skirts, because it was a very clear-cut geometric layering."

ginny di hed 2
(Photo: Ginny Di)

In total, it took Di between 50-60 hours to craft the costume when including the research and development. That time estimate didn't include the photoshoot, in which Ginny Di brought the enigmatic character to life. Di knew of Tasha (thanks to her iconic spell Tasha's hideous laughter) but was largely unfamiliar with the character until doing research for the costume. "One of the things that really did strike me is that she has just gone through so many changes over the years," Di noted. "Maybe it's more intentional than I think, but a lot of the early changes and differences between versions of Tasha seem almost accidental, like they weren't quite sure if they wanted that character to be the same as another character. But now it really feels like, with this new book, they are going out of their way to really solidify her character and give her a complex and interesting personality, which I love because early on there were criticisms of early versions of Tasha being almost a sexist figure, an evil, sexy lady, a very two-dimensional portrayal. And now they are so clearly trying to complicate that and to make her somebody who feels more three-dimensional."

Of course, Di is an avid D&D player and is excited for some of the new optional rules being introduced in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. She noted that she was particularly excited about the flexibility being added to racial traits. "I'm definitely someone who is interested in breaking the mold with the characters that I create and doing unexpected things," Di said. "I really like and enjoy the contrast and sometimes even the humor of pairing up races and classes that don't necessarily make a ton of sense, or that are unexpected for people. And the racial traits in D&D are often such an obstacle to that."

"I just also want to play a gnome barbarian, you know?" she added.

Ginny Di hopes that working with Wizards of the Coast helps open the door for more D&D cosplayers in the future. "I was at first surprised that Wizards of the Coast reached out to me, but then one person commented on my video and was like, 'Who else would they have asked?'" she said. "And I actually thought about that question for a minute and I realized I actually don't know, because there aren't really very many cosplayers within the D&D community where they are cosplaying D&D, you know? There are cosplayers who play D&D and there are people who play D&D and enjoy cosplay, but that intersection of things, it's hard to find people who are high profile and doing both of those things."

0comments

"I hope it expands, honestly, because I've been seeing a few friends cosplay their own D&D characters recently," she added. "And I just think that is so cool. That's such an exciting avenue of costuming that I think hasn't been explored very much yet, and I'm just excited. I hope it picks up and takes a life of its own and people do that more."

Di's other work (she's known for her fantastic Critical Role and fantasy cosplay) can be found on her website, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.