Digby’s HardwareFeatures

Digby’s Hardware Cartoon Marks 10th Anniversary

Scott Jensen has been drawing Digby’s Hardware cartoon since the first issue of *The Hardware Connection*. He is shown here at Railroad Avenue Supply in Stamford, N.Y., where he shops frequently.

Scott Jensen has been drawing Digby’s Hardware cartoon since the first issue of *The Hardware Connection*. He is shown here at Railroad Avenue Supply in Stamford, N.Y., where he shops frequently.»

The Hardware Connection is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and one thing that has helped the industry’s first all-digital magazine stand out is the continued presence of Digby’s Hardware cartoon, created and drawn by Scott Jensen. The amusing antics of Digby’s Hardware have been portrayed in the pages of The Hardware Connection since the very first issue came out in November 2009.

The first four cartoons were called “The Hardware Life” and then the strip’s name was changed to “Digby’s Hardware,” which is the fictional name of the hardware store depicted in the four-panel strip.

Scott is the older brother of Chris Jensen, who is editor, co-founder and principal of The Hardware Connection. Scott has been cartooning for more than 40 years, getting his start drawing editorial cartoons for the local newspaper at age 14. He once drew a weekly comic strip for Grit newspaper called “Barner’s Hollow.”

Each strip is drawn first in pencil, where all the details are refined.

Each strip is drawn first in pencil, where all the details are refined.»

The counter is covered with funny little notices pulled from strips over the years.

The counter is covered with funny little notices pulled from strips over the years.»

For 33 years, Scott has drawn a line of humorous greeting cards for Oatmeal Studios that are sold by some hardware retailers around the country. He is a member of the National Cartoonists Society, serving as a regional chapter chairman.

Scott is an associate professor who teaches visual communications at Cazenovia College in Cazenovia, N.Y., and lives in Hobart, N.Y., with his wife Eleanor and sons Kevin and David on a farm that has been in her family for five generations. “We raise chickens. Chickens are really very funny,” Scott says.

He notes that he passes five independent hardware and building supply retailers on his daily commute, which is two hours each way. “I visit a hardware or building supply store weekly, even if I don’t need anything,” he says. In addition to Hobart Hardware Plus in town, he frequently stops in Railroad Avenue Supply, an Ace store in nearby Stamford, N.Y., that was featured on the February 2019 cover of the magazine.


 This is a favorite strip from February 2019.

This is a favorite strip from February 2019.»

Understanding the World of Digby’s

Hardware retailing can be a funny business, and no one knows it better than the gang at Digby’s Hardware. Owner/Manager Ed Digby is ostensibly in charge, though sometimes he finds himself wondering exactly what he’s in charge of.

Ed’s son, Alan, has worked his way up the career ladder from gofer to assistant manager (that’s pretty much the whole ladder). Working for dad can be pretty darn amusing, and their back-and-forth interactions will sound familiar to many retailers.

 Shown above is the first sketch of the Digby’s characters in pencil; below shows how it looks in the end after being further developed and colored digitally.

Shown above is the first sketch of the Digby’s characters in pencil; below shows how it looks in the end after being further developed and colored digitally.»

Penny is the bookkeeper, which means she also works the floor, the storeroom and anywhere else she’s needed. Her efficiency only makes the part-time kids who help on weekends look that much more hapless.

For Digby’s, Scott draws upon his past experience working for Agway Inc., as well as his wife’s experience working as a store manager, management trainer and product manager for Agway. “I’m sure I’m also influenced by my customer experiences at the independent hardware stores in all the communities I’ve lived in. I am a big fan of my local hardware store,” he says.

Scott adds, “Many of the themes are universal to any retail business, but I seem particularly drawn to gags involving sales reps, consultants, changing practices and technologies, and customer expectations.

 This is the first Digby’s cartoon (originally named “The Hardware Life”) that appeared in the Winter 2009 issue of The Hardware Connection.

This is the first Digby’s cartoon (originally named “The Hardware Life”) that appeared in the Winter 2009 issue of The Hardware Connection. »

The cartoon ideas are a family collaboration. “I sometimes brainstorm with my wife, who sees things from a store manager’s viewpoint, and my sons, who are really good at letting me know when something’s just not funny,” Scott says.

Each Digby’s strip starts with a gag idea, then the strip is drawn first in pencil—that’s where every detail is worked out and refined. The detailed pencil is then scanned into the computer, then printed out in non-photo blue on special paper for inking. The inked, backline art is then rescanned into the computer, cleaned up and colored digitally.

 This is another favorite strip from Fall 2011.

This is another favorite strip from Fall 2011.»

Work from Scott’s Digby’s Hardware strip and his Oatmeal Studios greeting card line were on display earlier this year at a gallery exhibition in Spain at Le Centre d’Art La Rectoria in Saint Pere De Vilamajor Barcelona.

Digby’s Hardware has its own Facebook page. Click here to follow the page.

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