Quinn was born in Birmingham, England in 1962 and grew up in North London. She went to school at Highgate Wood Secondary School and completed a foundation course in art at Goldsmiths College, University of London before studying for a BA in Graphic Design at Middlesex University.
Quinn's first film Girls Night Out was completed in 1987 and won three awards at the Annecy Film Festival. This film introduced the anti-heroine character of Beryl and follows her antics when she goes to see a male stripper. Beryl appeared in Quinn's next film Body Beautiful (1990) in this film she is the factory union rep and she had to deal with a macho workmate Vince, voiced by Rob Brydon. In Quinn's multi award winning film Dreams and Desires- Family Ties (2006), Beryl becomes obsessed with film making and is asked to video a friend's wedding - with disastrous consequences.
Quinn's other films include Elles (1992), Britannia (1993)—with voice talent of Christine Pritchard and music composer Ben Heneghan (who was well famous for composing the music and theme songs for the children's TV series Fireman Sam, Hilltop Hospital, The Hot Rod Dogs and Cool Car Cats, Fox Tales, Satellite City, Zoo Factor and Joshua Jones and the animated film The Little Engine That Could with partner Ian Lawson. The pair also composed the music for Britannia), Famous Fred (1996)–with voice talent of Lenny Henry and Tom Courtney—and the Wife of Bath (1998) with voice talent of Billie Whitelaw, Liz Smith and David Troughton.
In 1987 Quinn founded Beryl Productions International Ltd with producer/writer Les Mills. As well as personal films Beryl Productions International Ltd has produced commercials for the UK, US, Mexican and Canadian markets. Clients include Charmin (toilet paper), Whiskas (cat food) and United Airlines. All these commercials have Quinn's distinctive drawing style, always animated by hand, on paper.
Quinn has been honoured with retrospectives of her work in all over the world including Rome, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Stuttgart, Zagreb, Hiroshima, Toronto, Montreal, Gothenburg, Bradford, Cordoba, Tampere, Ottawa, London, Valencia, Taiwan and Moscow.
2008 saw the culmination of her work in an exhibition called ‘Drawings that Move’, curated by Michael Harvey at the National Media Museum in Bradford, England. This much celebrated exhibition has since travelled to Valencia, Spain and the Czech Republic.
Quinn has been awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts from University of Wolverhampton, a Fellowship from the University of Wales and been made an Honorary Fellow of Royal College of Art, London.
Quinn has won over 90 international awards, including 2 Emmy awards, 4 Bafta awards and Jury prizes at all the major animation festivals. Two of her films, Famous Fred (1996) and The Wife of Bath (1998) have received Academy Award nominations. Quinn was awarded the Leonardo da Vinci International Art Award in 1996.
- Girls Night Out
- Body Beautiful
- The Wife of Bath - The Canterbury Tales
- Famous Fred
- Dreams and Desires – Family Ties
- Beryl Productions
- Joanna Quinn at the Internet Movie Database
- Joanna Quinn at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Cartoon d'or
- Joanna Quinn: Desert Island Flicks