As a designer I find it very important to push yourself once in a while and do something you haven't done before. Starting a personal project is the perfect opportunity to try out different things that you might not get a chance to do in your day-to-day job.
In 2014 I found myself in that situation, doing the same things in work every day, not really learning anything new. Being notoriously bad at illustration my whole life I decided that my next personal project was to be illustration-based branding for myself.
For years I've been a (digital) collector of Ex Libris (bookplates), woodcuts, etchings and engravings. I think it's amazing to see the all the details and care that went into them, some of them date back to the 1600's. Some of the later eccentric artists like Aubrey Beardsley, Austin O. Spare, Mahlon Blaine and Ephraim M. Lilien have been a source of inspiration and fascination with their strange works and even stranger personalities.
I like the rough look of the old woodcuts and the thin lines of Beardsley's pen-and-ink drawings and for me the two styles don't seem very far apart even if the techniques are different.
I wanted do my own version of a Ex Libris starting with pen and paper, then photographing it, vectorising it and getting it made into a stamp, which would be my simplified version of a woodcut.