Blink & Breathe

Micky is an art student and she can’t bear life. Or to be more accurate, she sees bears everywhere, all the time. ‘Maybe you should just stay in bed, where it’s safe and cosy,’ the bears tell her. The bears get in her way, and yet she can’t cope without them.

Original title
Knipperen & Ademen
Micky Dirkzwager

Should we get that deep fryer? Micky’s roommates wonder. She doesn’t think so. She lives in a flatshare in Utrecht with sweet, fun, quirky flatmates. The reader accompanies her as she is accepted into art school, deals with her painting teacher’s baffling feedback and learns how to critique other people’s work. Everything should be going well and yet something isn’t right. Micky is a perfectionist and feels burned out. When she finally goes to see a therapist, she is told she doesn’t have burnout — she has an eating disorder. It takes some time before Micky, too, realises the perks of a deep fryer.

Dirkzwager describes Micky’s problems with tongue-in-cheek hyperbole and lots of humour, both visually and in the text. Her way of drawing and writing is fresh, surprising and engaging. Her metaphors are brought to life: they become characters in her story and she engages in a dialogue with each of them before they ultimately part ways.

Blink & Breathe is part of the growing genre of graphic nonfiction in which cartoonists depict their lives, relationships and dilemmas. Like her fellow cartoonists both in the Netherlands and beyond, Dirkzwager tells her story in a way that will resonate with a wide audience.

‘Dirkzwager’s 'Blink & Breathe' is a graphic journey of discovery that goes far beyond your garden-variety autobiographical comic.’

9e kunst

‘A book that will have you roaring with laughter one moment and leave you speechless the next – an impressive achievement. In short: highly recommended, especially since Micky Dirkzwager is very stylistically versatile too, and readers will find themselves in awe of her artwork.’

Moors Magazine
Micky Dirkzwager
Micky Dirkzwager (b. 1998) is an illustrator, cartoonist and violinist. After studying psychology for a year, she changed track and went to Utrecht School of the Arts to study illustration. 'Blink& Breathe' is her graduation project. She published her first work when she was still in art school, including several children’s books and 'Dat is dan jouw probleem' (Well, That’s Your Problem, 2018), an anthology of autobiographical comics.
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