Pete the Cat a dream come true for creator James Dean - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Pete the Cat a dream come true for creator James Dean

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ATLANTA -

Metro Atlanta resident James Dean says he never thought he could make any money as an artist. His dream was to go to art school after retiring from electrical engineering.
    
His dream came true a lot earlier, and in a much bigger way.

Dean is the creator of beloved children's book subject, Pete the Cat. At one time there were three Pete the Cat books, written by Eric Litwin and drawn by Dean, on the New York Times best seller's list at the same time. The first book was I Love My White Shoes.

"And Pete steps in blueberries and strawberries but he doesn't get upset and he doesn't cry. He just keeps going," read Dean from the book, I Love My White Shoes.

It's that calm, laid back attitude that Dean himself possesses. But he wasn't always an artist.

"When I was supposed to be studying I was sketching," said Dean

The Alabama native graduated from Auburn with a degree in electrical engineering and worked for Georgia Power. He says it was never his passion.

"I was working with engineers who were so crazy about their job, they worked all weekend. They had side jobs, they loved being engineers and I knew I didn't feel that way about being an engineer," Dean said.

So he quit his job and he just started drawing.

"I started doing landscapes, and started learning how to do watercolor," explained Dean. And not even Dean's rescue cat, Pete, escaped the sketching frenzy.

"When I got ready to draw a picture of Pete, I saw him sitting like this and I went to get my camera. Of course, cats don't sit still and he was gone. So, I had to sit down on my couch and remember what I saw," said Dean.

Pete the Cat has evolved since then. He's now starring in his fourth book, Pete the Cat Saves Christmas. Although Pete the Cat is a household name, sadly he just wasn't meant to be a house cat. Dean says one day he left home and never returned.

"He came and he did what he was supposed to do, and he helped me. And then he went somewhere else," said Dean.

Dean credits much of his artistic success to the metro Atlanta and Decatur communities. Pete the Cat Saves Christmas is already number 3 on the New York Times best sellers' list.

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