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. The company was so strict with its writers. You were never allowed any kind of creative freedom, always being told to color inside the lines.
See also: color, inside, line
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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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.