Maaike Hartjes started drawing comics when she was only six years old. Although she developed a realistic style, she actually became known for the sketchy doodles which she used in her diary. She studied Illustrative Design from the Utrecht Art School (HKU) and graduated in 1998. She runs her own comic-studio, De Zwarte Handel, which she started with fellow artist Floris Oudshoorn in 1995.
She was in the vanguard of a group of female comic artists that started to make autobiographical comics in the 1990s. Several issues of 'Maaike's Dagboekje' ('Maaike's Little Diary') were self-published in the small-press circuit. She gained a larger audience when her comics diaries appeared on a weekly base in Viva, the magazine for young women. Her autobiographical comics and travel chronicles have additionally appeared in NRC.next, De Volkskrant, Zone 5300 and Hoe Overleef Ik magazine.
By now, both De Harmonie and Oog & Blik have published several larger collections of her work, starting with 'Maaike's Grote Dagboekje' in 2002. This diary contained Maaike's comics about Alexander Zograf's emails from Serbia during the bombings in 1999. In later years, she also started making diaries of the travels she has made with her partner Mark Hendriks. The first, about their trip to Hong Kong, was published by Oog & Blik in 2008. It was followed by a trip to South Africa.
Maaike also does commercial assignments through the Comic House agency, including live cartoons and collages. She was one of the chairmen of the federation of Dutch comic artists BNS, and has mainly focused on copyright and image rights. She also started a series called 'Tekeningen Rekeningen', in which she gives business advise to comic authors. She is the winner of the Dutch Stripschapprijs 2016, for her body of work and for her commitment to the industry.