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Woll Smoth refers to a photoshop technique that involves using the warp tool to drastically shrink the eyes and mouth of a subject in a photograph. The name is taken from an intentional misspelling of actor Will Smith, whose photo was the first to be photoshopped in this manner on the imageboard 4chan.
The earliest known archived 4chan thread featuring Woll Smoth was posted to the /b/ (random) board (shown below, left) on November 14th, 2007, which received 334 responses within 7 hours. Several users replied with photographs of other celebrities that had been edited with their eyes and mouth reduced in size (shown below, right).
Precursor: Nod Flenders
The photoshopping technique may have been influenced by an MS Paint series named Nod Flenders, which began appearing on 4chan’s /b/ board as early as June 11th, 2007. The poorly drawn versions of animation characters, including Ned Flanders from The Simpsons, were illustrated with small eyes and mouths accompanied by intentionally misspelled versions of their names (shown below).
On November 18th, 2007, Woll Smoth was posted in another thread on 4chan’s /b/ board. On January 4th, 2008, a thread featuring a warped photograph of United States politician Hilary Clinton, referred to as “Hollareet Clatnog,” was posted on the /b/ board (shown below, left). On February 8th, several notable examples were featured on the Livejournal celebrity gossip community Oh No They Didn’t. On February 15th, a thread was created on /b/ featuring an edited photo of the actor Tom Honks called “Tom Honks” (shown below, right).
On March 14th, 2008, Ebaum’s World Forums member Tilhas started a Woll Smoth picture thread, which received over 225 responses in the next two years. On March 28th, 2009, YouTuber hamsterpineapple uploaded a video titled “Woll Smoth Sings For You,” featuring an animated Woll Smoth image singing along to a distorted version of the theme song from the television show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (shown below). In the first four years, the video garnered upwards of 101,000 views and 530 comments.
On March 21st, 2012, Redditor Tobran submitted a rage comic featuring a Woll Smoth-like Me Gusta character (shown below) to the f7u12 subreddit. Prior to being archived, the post gained more than 420 up votes and 20 comments.
Celebrities with Tiny Faces
On August 20th, 2012, the “Little Face Mitt” Tumblr blog was launched, which highlighted photographs of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney with his eyes, nose and mouth reduced in size. Four days later, the Internet humor blog Funny or Die published a compilation of edited photographs of celebrities with shrunken faces. On September 5th, a video showing Romney’s tiny face was uploaded by YouTuber FreezePaint (shown below), gaining more than 1.76 million views and 4,400 comments in the next eight months.
On the Japanese Web
On May 1st, 2013, the Japanese news site Rocket News 24 published an article about a new photoshop meme on the Japanese web called “Celebrities with Shrunken Faces,” featuring photographs of celebrities with their eyes, mouth and nose reduced in size (shown below, left). The article credited the meme’s popularity with manga artist Jigoku no Misawa’s “shrunken-face” style of drawing from his comedy series Kakkokawaii Sengen (shown below, right).