I've always loved the symbols for shorthand--a secret way of writing--so I bought a small Gregg Shorthand Manual at the thrift shop. I intended to draw in it. I couldn't bring myself to mess up the pages (I have the same hesitancy with my neat sketchbooks--they're still pristine).
Instead, I used the kaleidoscope photobooth of my iPad to photograph a page; then added a layer with a painting. This was done in the Sketchbook app. I like the "transform" feature; I can move and resize the painting--no symbol poking her in the ear. I don't know the secretary in the above painting but I suspect she was influenced by my Sunday-night TV shows. I watch Call the Midwife (the clothing), The Good Wife, and Mad Men (the chair). Then I watch Mr. Selfridge on my PBS app (the women have this hairstyle). Who programs all the good shows for the same night?
I remember my days as a secretary--shorthand got me from the country to the big city of Washington, D.C.--working for the Federal Government, wearing hose that never matched my pale legs, and walking (even dancing The Twist) in HIGH HEELS. I loved it. In the photo above, my boss was away so I took over his desk at U.S. Department of Commerce--I was 19.