Philippa Rice’s My Cardboard Life is a comic with an extra dimension. This crafty webcomic follows the adventures of Cardboard Colin and his abrasive best friend, Paper Pauline. But Rice doesn’t just make her characters out wood pulp; she treats them as actual beings who happen to be made out of origami paper, cardboard, coins, adhesive bandages, cookies – whatever substances appear on the page. That makes for some clever sight gags and plenty of papery puns. And even when My Cardboard Life isn’t playing on its characters’ unusual make-ups, it’s still a delight to watch Rice experiment with their contrasting personalities, from the lovesick Doctor Bandaid to sweet, vulnerable Colin to the often-violent Polar Bear.
We chatted with Philippa Rice over email about the special challenges and delights of a crafted comic, her approach to writing paper characters, and why polar bears are so angry.
What was the inspiration behind My Cardboard Life?
It was partly inspired by having a lot of cardboard boxes around from moving house. I think I was trying to write something with a bit of a recycling theme in it but that’s not really part of it any more.
Why did you decide to craft your comic instead of drawing it?
Once I had the final idea down there wasn’t really a question of doing it any other way. It really wouldn’t work if it was drawn or painted or something.
Have you ever drawn a comic?
Yeah! Here’s an example. It’s the first page of a four-page comic I did for Paper Science. I drew that first and then colored it with collage. I’d like to do more drawn comics.