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.
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.
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.
If you can iron and if you can color inside the lines, you've got the makings of a paint-by-number muralist with a new product from Camp Kazoo Ltd.