The Greatest Conspiracy of the 80’s

I grew up watching the movie, “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.” The quirky and dry humor of the movie made it a constant family favorite that I eventually was able to quote along. Included in the movie, however, was a conspiracy that was played off in the movie, but in reality is one of the greatest questions of the 20th century.

In the movie, Pee-Wee loses his bike, and after consulting a fortune-teller named Madame Ruby, he learns that his bike is in the basement of the Alamo in Texas. He later finds out that the Alamo doesn’t have a basement. Pee-Wee laters gets his bike back, but to memorialize Pee-Wee’s hope for the Alamo, I created this design.


I made the Alamo directly in Adobe Illustrator using reference photos since it is a relatively simple photo. I knew that Pee-Wee’s bike would be a lot more complex and important to get accurate. The bike was essential for the design to be recognizable and funny.

By examining photos of Pee-Wee’s bike, especially a recreation by a Pinterest user,  I was able to sketch out Pee-Wee’s bike.


This design can be summarized as an experiment of being super detailed yet not being detailed at the same time. By looking at the drafts, I spend a long time matching little details, but I didn’t do any real highlights or shadows. I feel that this is similar to the idea of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. There is an exorbitant amount of objects in the movie, but most of them aren’t even acknowledged. I also felt the lack of strokes followed the playful nature of the film.

The font I used was the internet’s consensus that matched the font of “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” closest. I eventually made them red to match the bike and to reference the movie title.

I created the vent on the main body of the bike by accident. The actual vent is just a few rectangles closely put together in a circle, but by leaving the left side partially visible, it created an effect that implied the slant of the vent.

The door on the Alamo is a perfect example of being both detailed and not detailed at the same time. The pattern is the same as on the actual Alamo, but once again, it is only basic shapes, and the depth is implied.

This was the final of “The Secret of the Alamo.” I ended up making the Alamo details more subtle so the emphasis was on the bike.

Since I spent so long on the bike, I decided to reuse it in another design referencing the outrageous reward that Pee-Wee pretends to offer. Both of these designs can be found on my online storefronts which can be accessed here.

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