Art Academia is the aesthetic that characterizes biological and naturalist illustration, patent diagrams, and DaVinci’s sketches. It is an old aesthetic, and a contemporary one. It spans various techniques and styles from pencil sketches to ink drafting. In all of its iterations however, it is characterized by largely black and white illustration with minimal earth tones. Shading is executed in uniform ink washes, stippling, or hatching.
The aesthetic is generally highly detailed and technical, with its high detail serving as an attempt to increase its readability. Also in service to that readability, labels, captions, diagrams, legends, and even multiple angles or cross-sections of the same illustration are included and are one of the most defining characteristics of the style.
From its purely empirical roots however, it has evolved into an art style all its own, taking on some of the aesthetic characteristics of the rigidly defined originals, but abstracting away from the harsh restrictions its functionality once placed upon it.
As the style evolves it can become a celebration of intellect rather than an enactment of it. Retaining artifacts of the original content but abandoning even some of the aesthetic properties, and beginning to diverge into a new aesthetic entirely.
Tattoos from Scientific Illustration, a Pinterest board
US Patent Office’s website – Search for Patents
Da Vinci’s Notebooks – Anatomical study of the shoulder and arm
Mashable- Digital Culture – The academic aesthetic