color inside the lines

color inside the lines

To think or act in accordance with set rules. Likened to the way a child is encouraged to neatly color within the lines of a coloring book. That poor girl is so rigid. I think she's only capable of following rules and coloring inside the lines.
See also: color, inside, line
References in periodicals archive ?
With as much concentration as a six-year-old could muster, I meticulously strived to color inside the lines. To stretch my creativity, I also applied the side of my crayon, rather than the tip, so that colors would appear in shaded hues.
I can't imagine we did much more than color inside the lines of dreidel- and Seder plate-themed coloring books.
Above all, Persepolis is a tribute to feisty women who refuse to color inside the lines.
[ldots] We're all lighthearted and refuse to grow up." Other, younger, staff include columnist Matt Halstad, also manager at a local computer store and an avid laser tag player; cartoonists Jason Bradham ("Die Y2K Die") and Bryan Wade, also graphic designer ("Someday I'll be eating chalupas poolside at a Ramada in Hawaii because I can color inside the lines."); and Grand Valley PC Partners owner Rick Castellini (a radio talk-show host).
"We color inside the lines." The first Instruction at pre-school, from the dispenser Of crayons and coloring pads, is firmly Specific: art is defined by the lines; art Is the color inside them.